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www.fishgame.com Published by Texas Fish & Game Publishing Co., LLC. TEXAS FISH & GAME is the largest independent, family-owned outdoor publication in America. Owned by Ron and Stephanie Ward and Roy and Ardia Neves.

ROY NEVES PUBLISHER

DON ZAIDLE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

CHESTER

MOORE

EXECUTIVE EDITOR

C O N T R I B U T O R S

MATT WILLIAMS • BOB HOOD • TED NUGENT • LOU MARULLO • REAVIS WORTHAM • JOE DOGGETT • KENDAL HEMPHILL • DOUG PIKE • CAPT. MIKE HOLMES • LENNY RUDOW • GREG BERLOCHER • STEVE LAMASCUS • PATRICK LEMIRE • PAUL BRADSHAW • HERMAN BRUNE • WAYNE C. WATSON • JIMMY D. MOORE • CALIXTO GONZALES • TOM BEHRENS •

FRESHWATER EDITOR HUNTING EDITOR EDITOR AT LARGE BOWHUNTING EDITOR HUMOR EDITOR SENIOR CONTRIBUTING EDITOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR SENIOR OFFSHORE EDITOR ASSOC. OFFSHORE EDITOR BOATING EDITOR KAYAKING EDITOR FIREARMS EDITOR SALTWATER RIGS EDITOR CONTRIBUTING EDITOR CONTRIBUTING EDITOR LEGAL AFFAIRS EDITOR NORTH HOTSPOTS EDITOR SALTWATER EDITOR TROPHY QUEST COORDINATOR

P R O D U C T I O N

JIMMY BORNE ART DIRECTOR

LINDSAY WHITMAN YEATES GRAPHIC DESIGNER

A D V E R T I S I N G

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DENNISE CHAVEZ NATIONAL ADVERTISING COORDINATOR/RECEIVABLES MANAGER

TEXAS FISH & GAME (ISSN 0887-4174) is published monthly by Texas Fish & Game Publishing Co., LLC., 1745 Greens Road, Houston, Texas 77032. ©Texas Fish & Game Publishing Co., LLC. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reprinted or otherwise reproduced without written permission. The publication assumes no responsibility for unsolicited photographs and manuscripts. Subscription rates: 1 year $19.00: 2 years $34.75; 3 years $48.50. Address all subscription inquiries to Texas Fish & Game, 1745 Greens Road, Houston, Texas 77032. Allow 4 to 6 weeks for response. Give old and new address and enclose latest mailing address label when writing about your subscription. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: TEXAS FISH & GAME, 1745 Greens Road, Houston, TX 77032. Address all subscription inquiries to TEXAS FISH & GAME, 1745 Greens Road, Houston, TX 77032. Email change of address to: dhruzek@fishgame.com Email new orders to: dhruzek@fishgame.com Email subscription questions to: dhruzek@fishgame.com. Periodical postage paid at Houston, TX 77267-9946 and at additional mailing offices.

MEMBER AUDIT BUREAU OF CIRCULATIONS

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MARCH 2009 • Volume XXIV • NO.11

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CRAPPIE RIGS Two things count in crappie fishing: you have to find them; and you have to fish the bait they want when you do find them. Here is a quick lesson on the basic bait choices, and the assorted ways to rig them for different conditions.

by Matt Williams

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GALVESTON’S 20 MILE SPECKS While most of the Galveston complex’s trophy trout spots are accessible only by boat, the boatless angler should take heart: there are a number of productive shorelines to which you can wade or paddle.

by Greg Berlocher

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HUNT LIKE A NINJA Having problems using those cool shootthrough ground blinds? Are the turkey busting you every single time you hit the field? There is a solution, but it requires taking off the regular camouflage and using ninga tactics. Yes, ninja tactics. Read on and learn...

by Chester Moore

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FLOUNDER REVOLUTION There is a revolution coming to flounder fishing. Texas Fish & Game’s Executive Editor is leading it, and you can be a part of it.

ON THE COVERS: COASTAL: David Fleig fishes atop a kayak in one of Galveston Bay’s boatless-friendly trophy trout spots. He was guided by Jeff Kean of South Texas Fishing.

Photo by Wade Durkin INLAND/NORTH: Mister Crappie, Wally Marshall, asks, “Who’s ya slab daddy?!”

Photo by Matt Williams

ALSO IN MARCH:

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Lake Texoma is the best place to reliev bouts of striper fever. by Barry St. Clair

by Chester Moore

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I BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW DEER EAT QUAIL EGGS Part Three of our Year of the Deer series looks at the quirkier side of whitetails, namely their little-known appetite for the eggs of quail and other low-nesting birds.

by Bob Hood 4

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THE BEST STRIPER LAKE IN TEXAS

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HYPER BASS From our 25TH ANNIVERSARY ARCHIVES, a timeless story from 1991. by Larry Larsen


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MARCH 2009 • Volume XXIV • NO.11

COLUMNS 10 Editor’s Notes

53 Hunt Texas

The Bleeding Edge

Making Memories Memorable

by DON ZAIDLE TF&G Editor-in-Chief

DEPARTMENTS

by BOB HOOD TF&G Hunting Editor

14 Chester’s Notes

10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Texas Coast

58 Texas Saltwater Pitching Junk

by CHESTER MOORE TF&G Executive Editor

by CALIXTO GONZALES TF&G Saltwater Editor

16 Commentary

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YOUR LETTERS

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TF&G REPORT

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BIG BAGS & CATCHES

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TRUE GREEN

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TROPHY QUEST

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TF&G ON CAMPUS

60 Texas Offshore

The Anti Disease Is Spreading

More Silly Rules

by KENDAL HEMPHILL TF&G Commentator

by CAPT. MIKE HOLMES TF&G Associate Offshore Editor

18 Doggett at Large Guns Are Not the Problem

by JOE DOGGETT TF&G Senior Contributing Editor

20 TexasWild

Nuge On Nuge & Current Events by TED NUGENT TF&G Editor-at-Large

37 Texas Freshwater

Falcon, Amistad Benefit From Mexico Flooding

63 Open Season

Communication Skills

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by REAVIS WORTHAM TF&G Humor Editor

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THE LADIES LOVE LOU I am a new bowhunter, and being a lady, I felt a bit hesitant about taking up the sport. Someone suggested I read Lou Marullo’s column, and ever since then I have really got better footing in this bowhunting thing. I haven’t taken anything yet, but I have taken his advice on shooting and have my first deer hunt planned right after New Year in South Texas. Thank you for your easy to understand stories and for helping out a lady archer— and to the magazine staff for such a great publication I pick up every month. Love your photos! Farrah Free Via email PS: My husband, Evan, said to tell you he loves the bass stories. It’s rare that I write to a magazine, but I would like to thank you for your Bowhunting Tech column by Lou Marullo. It is very helpful to someone like me who is not new to the sport, but at the same time not very accomplished. I picked up a Matthews bow this fall, and decided to reinvest in my bowhunting during the general gun season after reading his article about hunting deer in cold weather. It really made a difference for me. Thank you for such a great magazine and one that does not talk down to its readers. Susan Richmond Austin, TX

KENDAL KUDOS To Kendal Hemphill for his October 2008 Commentary column, “Sheep to the Slaughter,” I say, “Bravo, sir, Bravo! I would like to add that recent events (since this article was written) in India truly underscore his points and others. When 10 or so quasi-literate sub-human 8

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young adults can essentially paralyze an unarmed city for two days with hand-held weapons, that makes a pretty good argument for arming citizens with more than cell phones. While such an event might gain some ground in Mr. Obama’s state, or Ms. Clinton’s state, or Ms. Pelosi’s or Mr. Biden’s states, I can’t imagine anybody imagining such a plot would ever fly in Texas. P. Guettler Houston, TX I read Kendal Hemphill’s column about the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) and its hidden agenda, and it provided yet more overwhelming information. The animal rights people are getting so big and powerful, how are we ever going to stop them? I keep telling my nieces and nephews that I’m glad I am getting old and might not lose [the right to hunt and fish] in my lifetime, but they probably will. What can we as individuals do to help? Everyone I talk to about the PETA people just shrugs their shoulders and say, “Oh, well.” I wish fishermen/women had the same passion that the animal rights people have. Will writing your senators do that much good? I went to the meeting in Dickinson with TPWD about the decline of flounder. They have all kinds of proposals, one of which is closing flounder season for up to three months. It was brought up that once they take it away from us, we never get it back, and they admitted that was very true. I wonder if the animal rights people are somehow behind it, and slowly taking it all away from us, like snapper season. Diane Jans Via email

CHESTER & DU KUDOS

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Chester Moore’s wonderful article, “America’s Duck Factory” [November 2008], on the Prairie Pothole Region and DU’s work, it is time to thank you. That article showed me the great work you all are doing and just how important the conservation reserve program is. I would like to thank you for what you are doing for the ducks and let you know you have inspired someone to get involved with duck conservation. I will start around my own stomping grounds in Corpus Christi and look forward to seeing what else you do on your conservation quest. Also, good work on the mottled duck poster program. That one seems to really be getting people’s attention. Billy Harper Via email

BOB HOOD KUDOS I am glad Bob hood is writing for Texas Fish & Game. I enjoyed reading him in the Ft. Worth Star Telegram all those years until I stopped taking the paper. I tried to keep up with him and Doctor Keen (I believe that is his name) that he traveled all over Texas with. I wonder what ever happened to him. I believe Bob was the best outdoor writer a newspaper ever had. I never was much on the hunting sport, but I love fishing. I kept up with the fishing reports he wrote in the paper. I think he should write a book on the outdoors. I have lived in Fort Worth all my life and fished out at Benbrook Lake. I always hoped to run into Bob face to face and meet him. I am happy to get to read his contributions to Texas Fish & Game. I have been a subscriber a few years now, and it is the best magazine on the market. Dennis Rhodes Via email


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The Bleeding Edge EXAS FISH & GAME EDITORS AND WRITING cadre constantly strive to stay not just abreast but ahead of the curve in reporting events, trends, and developments in the outdoor sporting world— beyond the cutting edge, on the bleeding edge. The goal, of course, is to provide readers with the most up-to-date information available on matters that matter to the outdoors sportsman. Reports on gear and technique innovations are givens and certainly important, but accurate, science-based reporting on resources and associated management receive special treatment; for without the resources, gear and techniques are moot. This is why we created a special section dedicated to resource conservation—True Green—an aggregation of truthful, accurate conservation reporting largely missing from most outdoors magazines. Conservation is more important now than it has been in many decades. We recognized that uncertain economic and political climates would impact the fiscal and physical resources of conservation organizations and their collective efforts. According to a recent Pew Research Center poll, “protecting the environment” dropped in importance to 41 percent, compared with 56 percent in 2008, ranking 16th among 20 top government policy priorities among voters. The economy ranked first, and “global warming” dead last. By partnering with legitimate conservation groups and government agencies with proven track records and providing accurate

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and, sometimes, esoteric reporting, we felt that mutual support and cross promotion of efforts and initiatives would assuage some of the deficits. Since initially announced in the January 2009 issue, our True Green Conservation Partner list has grown, and continues to blossom. The current conservation cadre includes: • Ducks Unlimited (www.ducks.org) • Texas Coastal Conservation Association (www.ccatexas.org) • National Wild Turkey Federation (www.nwtf.org) • Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Texas Chapter (www.ntrmef.org) • Friends of the Neches River (www.nuecesriver.org) • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Migratory Bird Management (www.fws.gov/migratorybirds) • Bonefish and Tarpon Unlimited (www.tarbone.org) • Gator Country (www.gatorcountrytx.net) • Delta Waterfowl (www.deltawaterfowl.org) • Quality Deer Management Association (www.qdma.org) That these organizations and agencies recognize the wisdom and value of partnering for conservation testifies to the forward thinking of their respective leadership. ••• Part of our goal at Texas Fish & Game is to entertain as well as inform. To that end, from the “I-bet-you-didn’t-know” department, in this issue hunting editor Bob Hood presents the fascinating revelation that whitetailed deer are not purely herbivores, and given the opportunity will eat bird eggs— and even birds. (That is about as bleeding edge as it gets.) Check out the details in the “I Bet You Didn’t Know Deer Eat Quail Eggs” feature. Most people who know executive editor Chester Moore agree that he is sometimes

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“out there” in more ways than most. In this issue, he goes ninja on us with a photo essay on ground blind hunting technique that borrows from, well, ninja tactics. See “Hunt like a Ninja” and prepare to be intrigued. In another entry from the “I-bet-you-didn’t-know” department, coastal readers stand to learn about a little known phenomenon. Author Capt. Kyle Tomek writes: “Fishing is full of mystery. The influences of tide, moon, and seasonal patterns on fishing are certainly causes for bewilderment. For seasoned anglers, some of these mysteries might eventually unravel. But with more time spent on the water, new experiences and discoveries might actually create more area of uncertainty. Lake Jackson natives, Steven Harlan and his father, Billy ‘Tinker’ Harlan, experienced a rare occurrence last February. During a wintry evening, the duo encountered an enormous swarm of worms—thousands of them—being devoured by speckled trout.” To learn the secret behind the mystery, see “Mysterious Bay Worms” in the Coastal and Inland edition Almanac section. If it seems you are seeing more jellyfish when wade-fishing Gulf bays, you are not alone. Marine scientists report massive jellyfish “invasions” worldwide in coastal waters of Hawaii, the Gulf of Mexico, the East Coast of the U.S., the Bering Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Australia, Black Sea and other European seas, Sea of Japan, North Sea, and Namibia. See News from the Coast in the Coastal edition Almanac. If you desire to put some sweat effort into a True Green conservation effort, lend at hand at the “Big Shell Beach Cleanup” at Padre Island National Seashore. See the True Green section for more information. All bleeding edge stuff, and just a portion of what’s inside this issue—and all issues— of Texas Fish & Game. If we miss something you think is important to you and other readers, please let us know.

E-mail Don Zaidle at editor@fishgame.com


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Study: Gun Shows Do Not Increase Homicides, Suicides NEW STUDY FINDS NO EVIDENCE THAT GUN shows lead to substantial increases in either gun-related homicides or suicides. The University of Michigan and University of Maryland study also shows that tighter regulation of gun shows does not appear to reduce the number of firearms-related deaths. “We believe that this analysis makes an

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important contribution to understanding the influence of gun shows, the regulation of which is arguably the most active area of federal, state, and local firearms policy,” said Brian Jacob, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. “To our knowledge, this is the first study that directly examines the impact of gun shows on gun-related deaths.” Jacob wrote the study with co-authors

Mark Duggan and Randi Hjalmarsson from the University of Maryland. The researchers analyzed data from Texas and California, chosen because they are the nation’s two most populated states, have large numbers of gun shows, and are at opposite ends of the spectrum regarding gun show regulation. California has some of the most aggressive gun show regulations, including background checks for all gun show purchasers and a 10-day waiting period to obtain the firearm. Texas has no similar regulations. Data came from the dates and locations of more than 3400 gun shows, and firearmrelated deaths from 1994 to 2004. More than 105,000 homicides and suicides were reported in the two states during the 11-year period.

BIG BAGS & CATCHES

STRIPER—Inks Lake

DEER—Childress

FOUNDER—Sabine Lake

Shelby Floyd of Burnet, Texas, caught these two striper while fishing at Inks Lake with Silver Spoon lures. The largest of the two weighed 32 pounds and was 38 inches long.

Walker Wilson, age 8, of Keller, Texas, killed his first deer while hunting in Childress, Texas. The 7-pointer weighed 154 pounds field dressed.

Chip Heering of Pearland, Texas, caught this 9.1-pound, 24-1/2-inch flounder while fishing at Sabine Lake with his brother-in-law Charlie Johnnie of Bridge City, Texas.

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would not capture the effect when weapons were transported more than 25 miles away. In addition, the data tracked the effects only up to four weeks after the gun shows, which would exclude later gun-related deaths. —Staff Report To determine the impact of gun shows, the authors traced the number of gun-related deaths in ZIP codes close to where gun shows took place, looking at how the number of deaths changed leading up to and following the shows. Researchers looked at the gunrelated deaths in the weeks immediately after gun shows and actually found a small decline in the number of homicides following shows in Texas. “The absence of gun show regulations does not increase the number of gun-related deaths as proponents of these regulations suggest,” said Jacob, director of its Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP). The researchers offered two caveats to their analyses: The study focused on the geographic areas surrounding the gun shows, and

State-Fish Art Contest for Students Deadline for entering the Texas StateFish Art Contest is March 31, and students and teachers should take time now to review the contest rules and regulations. Texas students who enter the contest can win prizes of up to $1000. Entries are judged in three grade-level divisions: 4-6, 79, and 10-12. Thanks to funding from the Toyota Texas Bass Classic, the three firstplace winners from Texas receive financial assistance for travel to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to compete in the national competition. “It’s important that entries be prepared in the format specified in the rules,” said Texas Parks & Wildlife Department’s Zoe Ann Stinchcomb, Texas coordinator for the con-

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test. “For example, artwork must be the proper size and have the entry form glued to the back. The complete set of rules is posted at (www.tpwd.state.tx.us/fishart). Links on that page contain everything you need to know to prepare entries and enter the contest.” Stinchcomb noted that a poster teachers can use to promote the contest to students can be found on the contest page as well. “However, home-schooled students are also eligible to enter the contest,” she said. The State-Fish Art Contest is a program of Wildlife Forever, a multi-species non-profit conservation organization that works to preserve America’s wildlife heritage through conservation education, preservation of habitat, and scientific management of fish and wildlife species. Working at the grassroots level, Wildlife Forever has funded more than 800 conservation projects in all 50 states, Canada, and Mexico. —Staff Report

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10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Texas Coast T JUST OVER 624 MILES IN LENGTH, OUR coastline is truly Texas-sized, encompassing numerous ecological regions. I am fortunate to travel its span annually, and find myself amazed at how much it has to offer for anglers, and those fascinated by nature in general. The following are 10 facts you might not know about the Texas Coast. Huge Snook: While many anglers know that Texas has a sizeable snook population in the Lower Laguna Madre region, few know

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just how big the fish can get. The state record according to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) weighed 57.50 pounds. That is actually 4 pounds bigger than the official world record, which probably has something to do with world record standards versus state requirements. Although this behemoth was caught way back in 1937, there are still very big ones dwelling the waters of the Brownsville Ship Channel and elsewhere in southern Texas waters.

State Waters: Texas is one of only two states on the Gulf coast whose jurisdiction extends nine nautical miles into the Gulf. This has given state fisheries biologists better control of management and, in cases like that of red snapper, allows anglers to continue harvesting fish federal fisheries managers prohibit. Flower Gardens: Texas offshore waters host the northernmost coral reef system in the world: The Flower Gardens. Located on the upper coast, this beautiful reef hosts thousands of species, ranging from moray eels to hordes of hammerhead shark that migrate through in the cool months. The reef is protected by federal regulations and is a haven for scuba divers who come to see its colorful inhabitants. Hatcheries: The Texas coast is home to the most advanced and productive marine


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hatcheries in the country. After the “redfish wars” of 30 years ago, the Gulf Coast Conservation Association, now known as the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA), worked hard to get an effective hatchery system running, and it has done so, producing tens of millions of redfish and speckled trout annually. A flounder-stocking program is in the making, and work is underway on snook, red snapper, tarpon, and ling with an eye to the future. Galveston Stripers: There have been rumors of a commercial striped bass fishery that allegedly existed in the Galveston area during the first half of the twentieth century. TPWD officials said the only known references to “striped bass” on the Texas coast nearest to the period in question come from old reports from the Game, Fish and Oyster Commission. The report of 1943 concerned fish from Galveston. The reports of 1935 and 1946 are not clear where on the Texas coast the fish were caught. TPWD reported there is some concern over the taxonomy in these reports, for one of the more often used common names, rockfish (rock) for striped bass is used. They said several fishes are associated with this common name. Lots of Redheads: More than 80 percent of North America’s redhead ducks winter in Lower Laguna Madre. The seagrass-filled ecosystems are crucial to these beautiful ducks, and are a priority area for waterfowl managers. Some hunters in the region question why they cannot take more than two, since the species is so common here. The reason is what is seen on the lower coast represents the bulk of the population, with other areas of the country wintering few. State Shell: Did you know the lightning whelk is the state shell of Texas? Actually, a better question would be: Did you even know we had an official state shell? According to an article written by TPWD biologist Jerry Mambretti in 1987, the 70th Texas Legislature designated the lightning whelk as the official state shell of Texas, joining several other flora and fauna that symbolize the rich diversity of Texas natural resources. Mambretti wrote: “Primarily a carnivore, lighting whelk prefers live or fresh dead food, but will eat almost any animal matter. Lightning whelks primarily eat small clams and oysters with a unique and ritualized sequence of prey detection and feeding. Finding a clam, a lightning whelk will grasp its prey within its muscular foot for inspection, then open the prey’s shell by wedging the lip of its shell between the clam’s valves.” Pretty cool, huh. Fishing Participation: Texas is second

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only to Florida for angler participation. Texans spent 41.1 million days fishing in 2006 and had 2.53 million participants. Additionally, Texas is one of the few states with generally increasing numbers of coastal anglers, while other states are facing double-digit declines. Turtles of the Bay: Everyone is familiar with sea turtles—but what about bay turtles? Texas estuaries are home to diamondback terrapins, a unique species found from Sabine Lake to Corpus Christi Bay. Hunted to near extinction in the early 1900s, the species is still rare and faces threats ranging from loss of habitat to becoming road kill.

By-catch Boon: The decrease in shrimping-related by-catch is having a positive effect on Texas bays. Croaker and sand trout numbers are increasing. Both species were hit very hard by the shrimping fleet for decades, and the reduction in pressure has corresponded to anglers catching croaker up to 3 pounds, and sandies schooling like speckled trout and weighing up to 2 pounds.

E-mail Chester Moore at cmoore@fishgame.com


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The Anti Disease Is Spreading AN ANGELO, TEXAS, SEEMS TO ME THE QUINtessential West Texas city. Although large by my personal standards, it is small enough that the people regard one another as neighbors. When farmers and ranchers gather in coffee shops, the main topic of discussion is usually the weather. The town seems to have little use for bunny huggers, and hunting is considered an honorable and useful sport. This is not just because many of the residents derive income from hunting, although they do; it is because the people believe hunting is good for the environment and helps the wildlife to thrive. They are right. Which makes me wonder why, during December 2008, the San Angelo Standard Times published an article that castigated hunting. The story was entitled “Hunting a dying ‘sport’ in America,” and was written by a woman named Bonnie Erbe for the Scripps Howard News Service. The column is a blanket of misinformation and anti-hunting opinion thinly spread over a shaky framework of fact. Erbe starts out maligning President Bush for pardoning a Missouri farmer named Leslie Collier, who was convicted of unauthorized use of a pesticide and violation of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Erbe mistakenly says Collier’s crime was “poisoning two bald eagles and killing them.” She admits the poisoning “wasn’t purposeful,” and that Collier intended to “kill another America icon—coyotes.” She seems to believe that should also be a crime. In fact, Collier used a pesticide called

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Furadan on ground beef, and managed to kill seven coyotes. Other animals ate parts of the dead coyotes and then expired. Two of them were bald eagles. Although Erbe does not mention it in her column, President Bush has not pardoned anyone who had not served his or her time, including Collier. The pardon wipes his slate clean, but did not keep him from paying for his mistake. Collier poisoned the coyotes because wild turkey had reappeared on his property, and he was trying to allow them a chance to survive. Erbe claims the reason Collier wanted

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to aid the turkeys was “so he could again drive them into extinction by hunting them down.” She also wrote: “Hunting is a socalled sport, which I have never understood.” She went on to write that, “the claim [hunting] is challenging is bunk.” Her reasoning was that she has seen “so many deer freeze right in front of me and continue to stand and stare after I shout and clap at them to run away, an infant with a BB gun could have easily shot them.” For the record, an infant cannot operate a BB gun. I tried with all three of my sons. All they wanted to do was drool on the stock. To keep the author’s perspective in context, it is necessary to point out that Erbe has lived in New York City and Washington D.C. Any deer she has encountered were most likely tame. Her claim that hunting is not challenging has no merit, because she F i s h

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has never experienced hunting in any form. Shooting any deer she has encountered would probably be like shooting a bear in a zoo. Erbe goes on to point out that the number of hunters in the U.S. is declining. This is true, partly because of people like Erbe, who spread disinformation (lies, actually) about hunting. This kind of thing does not normally happen in San Angelo, however, and the fact that the San Angelo Standard Times printed the story is scary. Erbe’s most twisted observations appear toward the end of her article. She wrote: “Time is not on the side of those who would slaughter animals for pleasure. America’s fast-growing population is spreading urbanization and suburbanization like small pox...it is gobbling up much of the open space hunters used to traffic in search of ‘game.’ Urban and suburban sophisticates aren’t drawn to hunting, which is mainly entertainment for rural folk. But there’s less of rural America these days and with it, fewer rural citizens.” Glaringly obvious is the fact that Erbe does not realize loss of habitat kills more animals than hunters do, and those animals die mainly of starvation, which is a much slower and more painful death than being shot. She is lauding the killing of animals on a grand scale, because those animals were not hunted. J. Frank Dobie once said, “The most ignorant are always the most positive.” Erbe is absolutely sure hunting is a terrible thing. By her own admission, she knows nothing about it. She appears to be a perfect example of what Dobie was talking about. Erbe’s attitude is a cancer growing in our society. If we allow this attitude to go unchallenged, it will continue to spread. The fact that this disease has reached San Angelo should tell us our time is running out. We can fight to keep our right to hunt now, or we can fight to get it back later.

E-mail Kendal Hemphill at commentary@fishgame.com


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Guns Are Not the Problem GUN IS A TOOL, MARIAN, NO BETTER OR NO worse than any other tool—an axe or a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. —Shane The gunfighter, Shane, was a fictional drifter in the 1952 film of the same name, directed by George Stevens from the Jack Schaefer novel. The movie about conflict over frontier settlement in a ranching/farming valley stands as a classic, without question one of the finest westerns of all time. Shane, of course, saves the valley for the homesteaders by being a fraction faster with his appointed tools than the rancher’s hired gun. Then he rides away, tall in the saddle (slumping only slightly from a rifle bullet in the left arm), leaving the pleading boy and no small amount of unspoken eye contact with the mother. The movie remains great, in spite of the hokey buckskin frills on the gunfighter’s clothes. You cannot watch it without at least a few times being moved. And it is a shame that some of Shane’s sage observations have been trampled amid the campaigns of modern society. A gun is a tool. It is as good or as bad as the person using it. The issue is that simple. But many people do not see it that way. They are convinced that a gun, unlike an axe or an automobile, somehow has an evil core of its own. The gun, not the hand that directs it, is responsible for whatever destruction and grief are caused when the trigger is pulled and the hammer strikes the primer. It could not possibly be the fault of Little Johnny, who skipped school and snuck the shotgun from his father’s closet. Nor could it be the guilt of Uncle Ed, out on parole, who bought the pistol from a pawnshop. It must

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be the firearm industry’s fault for manufacturing a gun that will shoot when the safety is off and the trigger is pulled. This premise has been the basis for reckless lawsuits across the country. According to this litigious bandwagon, the companies who manufacture the guns and the individuals who sell the guns are the ones at fault when violent shootings occur. What became of the moral obligation of knowing right from wrong? Is the notion of accepting responsibility for personal actions somehow outdated? Many baby boomers probably are thinking, We didn’t have this problem when we were growing up. Why now? A popular theory is that the violence portrayed by many aspects of entertainment is influencing the behavior of younger generations. This might be true, but violent entertainment is not a new trend. The boomers growing up during the mid 1950s and 60s were saturated with “shoot ‘em up” television shows, movies, and comic books. The presentations might have been sophomoric compared to today’s special effects, but the message was the same. You might recall prime-time dramas with titles such as Gunsmoke, Wanted Dead or Alive, Have Gun Will Travel, and The Rifleman. We grew up watching actors getting shot right and left on television. We also grew up with cap guns and air rifles, and many of us moved on to .22 rifles and single-shot shotguns for plinking or fledgling hunting forays. Guns were a big part of our upbringing, even in urban communities, yet violence with firearms virtually did not happen—certainly not at intersections and in schoolyards. I cannot explain why, other than the possibility that common sense was alive and well and the average kid was instilled early on by parents and mentors with concepts of what was right and what was wrong. It was an era of “Yes, sir” and “No, ma’am,” when nobody ever had heard of a SWAT team. The only swat that I recall was administered by a gym teacher with a paddle—and no F i s h

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lasting trauma resulted from the punishment. Some say values have become distorted, distinctions between right and wrong blurred. This also might be true, but the deterioration of goodness remains no fault of the gun. Nor is it the fault of the law-abiding gun owner. His gun is not society’s problem; society’s problem is the kid with no particular moral dilemma in settling a score or eliminating a witness by walking up and shooting someone in the face. In the aforementioned movie, Marian replies to Shane’s defense of the gun, “We’d all be much better off if there wasn’t a single gun in this valley—including yours.” Many people in today’s society share her views. True, the elimination of guns might have merit in curbing violence and crime (even the most staunch pro-gun advocate cannot deny that possibility), but we are 200 years too late for the concept of outlawing all guns to work. Too many are in circulation. And, of course, if guns were banned, crooks would continue to arm at will while honest citizens stand bare. The National Rifle Association made a strong point: “The issue of gun control— from registration to licensing to bans—is pointless in the presence of strict application of existing federal law against criminal possession and use of guns.” Laws aplenty already are on the books; missing is the wholesale enforcement of these laws combined with no-nonsense jail time for violators. Acts of random violence and reckless behavior continue to grow in our society, and the reasons for this alarming trend are open for debate, but to convict the gun is a mistake. The gun is a tool. Perhaps society needs guidance in relearning this fact. Lawful gun owners might do well to echo young Joey’s final plea: “Shane! Come back!”

E-mail Joe Doggett at doggett@fishgame.com


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Nuge On Nuge & Current Events XCERPTS FROM ASSORTED MEDIA INTERviews with The Nuge:

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Q: How do you see the results of the recent elections affecting us as hunters and sportsmen? Nuge: Certainly that men like Barak Obama and Joe Biden and their ilk have any

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meaningful support in America, much less get elected to the highest offices in the land, is an indictment to the soullessness of so many Americans who expect the government to take care of them; and worse—the embarrassing apathy amongst those Americans who know better, but are either not participating in this experiment in self-government, or have abandoned their principles in the name of socialism. History has proven every time that government is never the solution—it is the problem. Specifically regarding our sacred hunting rights and individual God-given right to self-defense, the liberal Democrats would end it all today if they could. It is clearly time to turn up the heat, for sportsmen to insist that we all are members of the NRA, SCI, and other great organizations fighting for our rights, and be as involved as we possibly can be to help stop the anti-hunters and anti-gunners in the new administration.

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Q: You do a lot of PR and charity work for different hunting and shooting organizations, as well as kids and the armed forces. What motivates you to do so? Nuge: Privileged and humbled to be invited to spend time with the courageous wounded warriors of the US Military and the families of terminally ill children, one is driven to do all in our power to help them in every way possible. I am moved and deeply appreciative how the hunting families of America always give, and give, and give some more when we raise money for these important causes. Q: You are a very outspoken, right to the point kind of guy. I would imagine this sometimes rubs people the wrong way. What would you tell the sportsman who agrees with your message but not necessarily the way you present it? Nuge: My typical critic is clueless. In a


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world of soulless disconnect by ignorant people who couldn’t promote a blanket to a naked man in a blizzard, I stand alone in getting the believable, critical, message out in an effective, passionate way to more people on a daily basis than all my critics combined could do in a 1000 years. I ignore their transparent squawking and continue to promote and celebrate self-evident truth and logic with all the resources available to me. Everyone should. Q: Any message for PETA and other such organizations out there? Nuge: Sure. I will kill many, many animals and eat them this year again, just for them. Q: What message would you like to pass along to the American youth of today? Nuge: Thank God everyday for the amazing good fortune for being alive in America by being the best that you can be, and respecting the gift of life by taking good care of yourself. Seek a higher level of awareness by dedicating yourself to the discipline of the shooting sports, and apply that intensity to everything in life. The American Dream is available to everybody with a dream and an alarm clock. The old guard, status quo, Bubba “leadership” is so soulless and Mr. Rogers-like that they actually drive young people away from shooting sports. Couple to this the insane bureaucracy of counterproductive hunting regu-

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lations across America, and we will continue with the self-inflicted attrition rate that the industry foists upon itself. Only the guilty need feel guilty, but way too many sporting retailers are an anti-hunter’s dream, the way they mistreat potential new customers. It is pandemic across America and we should all be more demanding of a friendlier, more upbeat, positive spirit industry-wide. The horror stories I constantly hear from people trying to get into the sport makes my skin crawl. Hunting license sales are down in much of the country. Kids are sitting on the couch playing Nintendo. Is this reversible? What can we do? Though some better-late-than-never upgrade is taking place by visionary activists in NRA, SCI, NWTF, B&C Club, and other great organizations, the overall sporting industry is its own worst enemy, especially when it comes to kids and youth involvement. Q: How would you most like to be remembered? Nuge: As Davy Crockett. Q: You are a Board Member and spokesman for the NRA. I have heard some outdoorsmen say that the NRA only represents the “gun nuts,” not the average person who only uses guns for hunting. Why should Joe Hunter join the NRA? Nuge: Our individual God-given right to

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keep and bear arms and to defend ourselves is the cornerstone of liberty. Any hunter or gun owner, or freedom lover for that matter, who is not a member of the NRA, is a friend to Ted Kennedy and all the gun grabbers. Thanks for nothing. Q: Are you more proud of your hunting, writing, conservation, or musical accomplishments? Why? Nuge: I am proud of the work ethic and discipline that my parents instilled in me, and thank God every day for the good fortune to be born an American, where any dream is achievable with that work ethic and discipline. All my careers happen to be the things I love and crave the most. Q: What sparked your love for the outdoors at an early age? Nuge: Thank God I was born into a hunting family, specifically a bowhunting family. Growing up along a wooded river course on the outskirts of Detroit, the wildlife and wild grounds always held me spellbound. The very difficult discipline of marksmanship and archery was compelling from the very earliest times.

E-mail Ted Nugent at bowhunting@fishgame.com

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ILLUSTRATION BY JIMMY BORNE


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rappie school is in session and the professor is in. Though I am no expert when it comes to finding and catching crappie, I have shared the boat with a passel of guys who are masters at the art of sackin’ slabs. One thing experience has taught me about crappie fishing is that you can only catch papermouths where you find them. It also helps to know a little something about bait choices and the assorted ways to rig them to achieve a presentation best suited for the conditions. Hook Knocker Rig: Sam Rayburn crappie guru Larry King uses this rig whenever he is soaking live shiners in or around dense brush, natural or manmade. It consists of a pair of 1/4ounce slip sinkers rigged butt to butt above a No. 2 gold Aberdeen crappie hook. Rigged

properly, the weights should resemble a tiny missile with points at both

ends. The main reason for the dual weight set up is it cuts down on broken lines as the result of hang-ups. If the hook snags on a limb, jiggle the line up and down a few times. This causes the top weight to crash repeatedly into the bottom weight, which rests on the eye of the hook. Think of the bottom weight like a nail, the top one like a hammer. The hammer hits the nail, which in turn drives the hook free.

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Slip Cork Rig: An old standby, the slip cork is designed to suspend the bait at the desired depth and aid in detecting strikes. The cork slides up and down the line until it reaches a “bobber stop,” which can be adjusted to suspend the bait a few inches or several feet below the surface. You can fashion a bobber stop by tying a piece of rubber band around the main line, or purchase one ready made. The slip cork works for several applications in combination with live shiners or small jigs. It works well when fishing for spawning crappie around bushes, stumps, logs, cattails, and any other cover typically found in shallow water, or when targeting fish suspended around brush piles, bridge pilings, boat houses, and other

str ucture in deeper water. When using a slip cork with live bait, use a split shot or clam weight to hold the bait down and make the cork stand semi-erect. A slip cork setup also is effective when casting jigs over F i s h

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stump flats or submerged grass beds; the cork provides extra casting weight. More importantly, it allows you to stop the jig periodically or alter retrieve speeds while keeping the lure in the strike zone 100 percent of the time. Single Minnow Rig: Simple to build yet deadly as any, the single hook minnow rig has probably accounted for more limits of fish than any other crappie rig. It is tailormade for vertical presentations around standing timber, brush piles, channel breaks, and other structure. The business end of the rig consists of a No. 2 gold Aberdeen or Mr. Crappie Wally Marshall cam-action hook. A single slip sinker or clam shot weight (3/16- or 1/2ounce) above the hook helps get the bait to the desired depth and keeps it there.

Ta n d e m Crappie Rig: The tandem crappie rig is designed to fish two baits in unison at suspended ILLUSTRATIONS BY JIMMY BORNE


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depths or on bottom. It can be used with live bait, crappie jigs, or a combination thereof. Eagle Claw markets a ready-

made tandem rig t h a t you can buy for around a buck. It has two thin wire hook holders spaced between the line tie and weight clasp. The wires protrude outward about 4 inches, which helps prevent the baits from tangling. Crappie pro Wally Marshall of Garland builds his own tandem crappie rigs for tight-line trolling with live bait around bottom structure, or when longline trolling with jigs for suspended crappie in open water.

using the trolling motor. The heavy weight will usually break the hooks free should they connect with brush.

Long Line Trolling Rig: Marshall uses this rig when slow trolling Slab Daddy jigs in tandem. He prefers a 1/16-ounce jig on bottom and a 1/32-ounce model on top using 4- to 6-pound-test Mr. Crappie HiVis line. Using his custom rod holders and 12- to 14-foot crappie poles, he can trail as many as 20 baits 30-40 feet behind his boat.

• Tight Line Trolling Rig (Open Water): In open water situations, Marshall secures a 3/4-ounce egg sinker midway between two live bait hooks or jigs. The baits should be spaced evenly about 12 inches above and below the weight. He uses a 1/8ounce Road Runner on bottom and a 1/16ounce Slab Daddy on top for jig fishing applications.

Marshall sometimes employs a half-dozen or more of his signature series “Super Slide” or “Tightline Special” rods at once when

performing a trolling technique known as Spider Rigging. • Tight Line Trolling Rig (For Brush): Marshall builds a couple of different tight line rigs using 10pound test Mr. Crappie Hi-Vis line. When fishing around brush, he builds his hook stagings with 4- to 5-inch loop knots

spaced 12-15 inches apart. His hook of choice is a No. 2 Mr. Crappie gold or Code Red. Marshall attaches a 3/4-ounce bell sinker to the bottom of the main line to keep it vertical as he bumps along T E X A S

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PHOTO BY WADE DUNKIN, COURTESY SOUTH TEXAS FISHING


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by Greg Berlocher

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ometimes they are off the beaten path; sometimes they are right under your nose, so close and conspicuous that no one ever suspects their presence. Trophy trout are where you find them. The Galveston Bay complex more than holds its own as a big trout venue, but many of the best reefs and shorelines are accessible only by boat. The boatless angler in search of a sow trout should take heart, as there are a number of productive shorelines to which you can wade or paddle. The combination of structure, moving water, and the presence of bait is imperative if you are to catch speckled trout, let alone big ones. Many anglers make the mistake of simply fishing “spots” and ignoring the above advice. Perhaps the anglers caught fish in an area years before and feel it is lucky, returning to it time and again in hopes of replicating past glory, only to tow an empty stringer and smell of skunk at the end of the day. Unfortunately, these fishermen never realized why the fish were feeding on the fist visit. Weather patterns, seasons, and tides create a new dynamic every day, and the savvy coastal angler never overlooks the basics.

The Early Bird Kayakers and wade-fishermen should plan on starting an hour or two earlier than their brethren in center consoles. If you are after a trophy fish, plan on arriving bayside in total darkness, allowing plenty of time to rig and get on the water before there is a hint of light in the east. The gray light of dawn is no the time to be tugging on a pair of waders; you should be rigged and on the water 30 minutes prior if you are serious about catching a big trout. Once you have made it your destination, don’t hesitate to cast large, noisy topwaters and dark, suspending plugs in total darkness while you wait for daybreak.

Spots to Consider Some venues are more obscure than others, but all can produce big trout. Keep in mind that some of these spots were greatly affected by Hurricane Ike, with damage to 30

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Anglers can access Galveston's trout by foot or kayak from many put-in points.

roads and facilities. Although repairs might take time to complete, keep them in mind for the future. Highland Bayou: Highland Bayou flows into the north side of West Galveston Bay near the junction of Highway 6 and I-45. Highway 6 crosses the bayou and kayaks can be launched at the bridge. Although there is plenty of boat traffic from the Bayou Vista canal community, there are shallow flats where you can get away from the crowds. Fish early and, if possible, on weekdays. Key on shallow muddy flats and channel drop-offs. Lost Bay: Chocolate Bayou snakes through the coastal plains, eventually flowing into Chocolate Bay, a satellite on the north side of West Bay. Lost Bay is wide spot in Chocolate Bayou that is great for kayaking. You can also wade, but deep mud is the norm. Highway 2004 crosses the bayou and there is a public ramp near the bridge. Lost Bay is an easy paddle away and offers a pocket of shallow water set off from the bayou. The deeper water in the bayou is a great winter spot, while the shallows are good year-round when temperatures are warmer. McCollum Park: Located on the northwestern shoreline of Trinity Bay just east of Baytown off Highway 2354, McCollum Park has been a long-time jumping off spot for wade-fishermen. The park is close to the warm water discharge canal, making it a popular winter and early spring destination. It is especially productive during spells of F i s h

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bitter cold, as fish huddle in the warmer water. The bay bottom has a lot of black mud with clamshells mixed in. Anahuac Pocket: The Anahuac Pocket in the northeastern corner of Trinity Bay sits between the eastern shoreline and the Anahuac Channel. The area can be accessed via Fort Anahuac Park, which overlooks the bay. To get there, take I-10 East and then Highway 61 into Anahuac. High bluffs offer protection from easterly winds. The bay bottom is solid, offering easy wadefishing. A kayak will extend your range, allowing you to explore marsh areas on the northern shoreline of Trinity bay. James Robbins Memorial Park: Located at the extreme end of Smith Point, Robins Park affords the wade- and kayak fisherman good access to East Bay. All of Chambers County suffered tremendous hurricane damage, but it will rebound in the future. To get to the park, take Highway 61 South off I-10 and continue south on Hwy 562 until you get to Smith Point. From there, take the county road to the park. Keep in mind that many road sign have not yet been replaced.

Finding your Own Spots There are plenty other good areas in Galveston Bay waiting for you to discover. The best way to find your own is to go on some exploratory trips. Cold fronts might blow out spring expeditions, but an empty stringer does not equal zero value. Water clarity is the best of the year, allowing you to see deep into the water. I find wading a new area extremely productive, as I learn about bottom contours and discover hidden shell and drop-offs. I also learn about the bay floor—whether it is bright white sand, one of various shades of chocolate, or charcoal black, which holds precious heat during winter months. All of this information gets jotted down in my journal for later review. I love fishing maps and have a large collection of them. I also keep a copy the Texas Lakes & Bays Fishing Atlas in my office and consult it when in an exploring mood. These resources help reveal good areas that hold big trout. Look for roads that front bay shorelines and bridges that cross small bayous and creeks. With a small investment of time and gasoline, you can find areas where you can catch big trout in Galveston Bay without a boat.

PHOTO BY WADE DUNKIN, COURTESY SOUTH TEXAS FISHING


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Having problems using those cool shoot-through ground blinds? Are the turkey busting you every single time you hit the field? There is a solution, but it requires taking off the regular camoflage and using ninja tactics—yes, ninja tactics. Read on and learn, grasshopper...

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by Chester Moore

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“That pretty much renders you invisible to them,” he said. The author uses black Medalist gear, which gives the added advantage of absorbing scent.

PHOTO BY GERALD BURLEIGH

There are dozens of portable ground blinds on the market. You will have to figure out which one best suits your needs, but most of them are affordable and might help you hunt in areas Hurricane Ike seemingly rendered unhuntable. Hunting on the ground can be quite exciting.

PHOTO BY GERALD BURLEIGH

PHOTO COURTESY U.S. FISH & WILDLIFE SERVICE

Ever since talking to veteran bowhunter Mike Cascio before Hurricane Rita hit, I have been using his tip for hunting in ground blinds. Since most of them have a black lining, he advised wearing a black shirt, gloves, and facemask or makeup.

PHOTO BY CHESTER MOORE

While turkey will walk right up to a ground blind, hogs and javelina are much more cautious despite their poor vision. Makes sure to “brush out” your ground blind and break the square shape by using vegetation to give it a more truly natural look.

Drawing a bow on a game animal like sharp-eyed turkey can be a challenge in a ground blind, but by using stealthy “ninja” tactics like full black camo can make a huge difference.

Much turkey hunting is in areas with sparse cover. Turkey will walk right up to a ground blind, allowing for shots as close as 5 yards.

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by Chester Moore

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lounder Revolution! It is a concept born of a desire to see flounder populations restored to historic levels, and for southern flounder to take their rightful place alongside redfish and speckled trout as a top inland sport fish. The title came during a conversation when someone asked me how it felt to be the leader of the flounder conservation movement. “I don’t like movements,” I replied. “By definition, they go only so far and stop. A revolution, however, keeps coming back around and stays in your face. This not a movement, but a revolution.” In this issue, we are debuting some concepts that are part of my long-term vision for flounder fisheries management. My guiding principle for all things outdoors is based on the health of the resource and access for the average person to participate. This will be at the core of Flounder Revolution, which despite the far-reaching aspects of what you are about to see, is only just beginning. In an effort to promote the catch and release of the big, breeding female flounder, I am collaborating with Texas Fish & Game (TF&G) and Global Fish Mounts. From March-November, we will be taking submissions from anglers photographing and releasing flounder measuring 20 inches or more. According to Mark Fisher with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD), these are pretty rare catches for coastal anglers. “From our 2007-2008 creel survey, the percentage of flounder landed over 18 inches was 3.2 percent. Flounder over 20 inches was 0.8 percent, and flounder 24 inches and greater was one fish out of 2551 measured,” Fisher said. At the end of each month, the angler who submits the largest released flounder will receive a high quality replica of their catch produced by Global Fish Mounts. At the end of the nine-month cycle, the angler who submits the most released flounder measuring 20 inches or more will be our “Flounder Angler of the Year” and receive a special trophy, a story on the achievement in TF&G, and prizes worth more than $1000. We know there are skilled anglers that catch these kinds of trophy flounder, and we want to recognize that achievement while 36

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Capt. Phillip Samuels caught this nice flounder last year to donate to Sea Center Texas for their captive breeding efforts. This year, that fish would qualify for a highly quality replica produced by Global Fish Mounts.

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promoting turning them back and eating the small ones. For full details on submitting your catch, go to www.flounderrevolution.com and click on the Replica Program link. There was not a catch-and-release contest for 2008, but there was an angler on the Texas coast who took serious initiative in helping the state with their fledgling flounder-stocking program. He is Jason Fregia of Sour Lake. After reading an article about the need for southern flounder for broodstock production, he made his own holding and transport tanks and contributed dozens of flounder to TPWD. Grayburg Lumber Company, his business, is underwriting the expenses of these conservation efforts. Kudos to Jason for his hard work in helping this beleaguered fishery and for taking unique steps to make it happen. For that effort, he is the 2008 “Flounder Angler of the Year.”

Flounder Revolution Agenda (Yes, we have an agenda but we admit it.) • Make flounder conservation a true, F i s h

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long-term priority in Texas. • Recognize top flounder anglers and those working on the species’ behalf. • See flounder ascend to the level of speckled trout and redfish in terms of respect and funding at the highest levels. • Raise awareness to the sporting potential of the southern flounder. • Help facilitate flounder research and contribute both fish and finances to TPWD captive breeding and stocking efforts. • Promote voluntary catch and release of flounder measuring 20 inches or more.

Largemouth of the Bays The southern flounder is the largemouth bass of the Gulf of Mexico’s inland bay systems. No fish offers more challenging, diverse angling options, nor are any more mysterious and interesting at the same time. Anglers armed with real knowledge of flounder can pattern them far better than they can speckled trout or redfish, yet catching the truly big ones with artificial lures might be the biggest challenge in inland saltwater fishing. And they do have huge mouths!


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below normal to full capacity by the end of the month. The flooding was so intense that the International Boundary Water Commission had to release water from Amistad at an alarming rate just to keep up. Falcon subsequently leaped from 28 feet below normal to full pool in a seven-week period, consuming thousands of acres of mesquites, huisache, and other terrestrial vegetation native to the fertile landscape. According to Randy Myers, it is a jungle out there. “Falcon now has water is places that hasn’t seen it since 1992,” said Myers, the fisheries biologist who oversees Falcon and Amistad for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. “There are a lot of places on the lake where the brush is so thick that is impenetrable.” Myers predicts the recent rise in water level will be a boon to both fisheries, because it created optimum habitat conditions for spawning, survival, and recruitment of young bass, as well as the various forage species on which they feed. In other words, the stage is set for the mother of all spawns. “It is pretty exciting to think about what will come from all this, because we have seen it happen before,” Myers said. “Both lakes got a big rise in water level during the early 2000s that produced banner spawns in 2002 and 2003.” Myers said those cycles resulted in a pair of super strong year classes of bass, back-toback. In 2005-06, the fishing quality on both lakes shot straight through the roof. The bite has waned somewhat at Amistad in recent times, largely due to intense pressure. Falcon, meanwhile, has gotten progressively better and never showed the first sign of slowing down. “All the new water at Falcon has added something great to something great that was already there,” Myers said. “It is hard to imagine that lake getting any better, but the future down there looks especially bright.”

Falcon, Amistad Benefit From Mexico Flooding

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a check. I’ve seen that happen a bunch of times.” Tournament crowds are not the only ones to witness the big bass magic of the Brush Country muscle lake. Thousands of casual anglers have visited Falcon over the last 12 months. Not surprisingly, many have come away feeling as though they might have experienced what bass fishing might be like on the “other side.”

The flooding sent a steady influx of water barreling down the Rio Grand River to Lake Amistad.

S IT POSSIBLE TO IMPROVE ON PERFECTION? Give it couple of years and we’ll find out. My guess is the good ol’ days of bass fishing at Lake Falcon could be ahead in the not-too-distant future. That might seem a bit surreal to anyone who has visited the remote South Texas fishery in recent times. Located along the Texas/Mexico border near the sleepy town of Zapata, Falcon has been on fire the last couple of years. By some counts, the lake has been fishing completely off the charts, better than any other bass lake in the world. To wit: Big league and minor league tournament circuits that visited the 83,000-acre lake in 2008 posted results that read like something out of a fairytale book. Perhaps the most impressive date back to last April, when the BASS Elite Series guys milked the fishery for more than 10,500 pounds of bass and saw the circuit’s former all-time four day weight record of 122 pounds, 14 ounces crushed six—count ‘em—six different times! Mississippi bass pro Paul Elias won the event with a whopping 132 pounds, 8 ounces —nearly a 6-1/2-pound average on 20 fish. Remarkably, the twelfth-place finisher (108 pounds, 7 ounces) averaged better than 5 pounds per bass during the fourday event. A freak occurrence? Don’t bet on it. Those in the know predicted Falcon would bust the record months before tournament time rolled around. “It didn’t surprise me one bit,” said Zapata native and fishing guide, Speedy Collett. “That’s just the kind of lake Falcon is. A good limit on most lakes is not crap on Falcon. Down here, you better have five that will go 25 pounds or you probably won’t get

It is hard to imagine Falcon becoming any better than it already is, but odds are good it will. The lake has way too much going for it to believe otherwise. For starters, the Falcon refilled last October for the first time since 1992. The new water came after a tropical storm settled in on northern Mexico last September. The storm dumped a ton of water on the Rio Conchos watershed, causing heavy flooding that breached levees and busted the dams of a couple of Mexican reservoirs. The flooding sent a steady influx of water barreling down the Rio Grande River to Lake Amistad. Amistad, which lies upstream from Falcon, jumped from 18 feet T E X A S

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eave it to scientists to throw a little egg in the face of hunters who thought they knew all there was about whitetail deer. Thanks to modern surveillance technology, it appears there are some pretty whacky things going on in the woods that never crossed the minds of most of us. Do whitetail deer eat the eggs of quail and other ground and low-nesting birds? The answer is yes, but deer predation does not appear to be a significant problem to the birds’ overall populations. If you are wondering where all of this somewhat astonishing information came from, the answer is fairly simple: wildlife biologists using surveillance cameras to monitor the predations of skunks, foxes, and who-knows-what on bird nests have captured video and still photos of whitetail deer predating the nests of red-winged blackbirds, Savannah sparrows, grasshopper sparrows, and clay-colored sparrows—and eating quail eggs. Pam Pietz, a researcher for the U.S. Geological Survey, is credited with being the first to record whitetail deer predating bird nests during a North Dakota nest predation study. Later, she placed four

TF&G FIRST quail eggs in a cluster inside an enclosure with a captive-raised whitetail deer and a surveillance camera. The deer found the eggs and was recorded making a meal of them. (To find the results of studies of deer predation of bird nests, go to, www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/birds/deerpred/ results.htm.) Researchers believe deer feeding on bird eggs is only occasional and not a big problem. It is something that probably has been happening forever. The next question is why. That isn’t difficult to understand, either. Birds as well as reptiles develop outside their mothers. That means their eggs contain all the nutrients required for their development. Thus, the eggs are exceptionally high in protein, minerals, fats, and vitamins, which deer need and seek. The scientists’ cameras also have recorded deer nudging an empty bird nest that was preyed upon earlier by the same or another deer. In Wyoming, an elk, which is from the same family group as deer, has been phoPHOTOS BY GERALD BURLEIGH

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peanut hay was placed under the same feeder. Finicky deer? Maybe so for those at my friend’s feeder, but it makes one wonder what the deer would have done if some quail or chicken eggs had been placed under that feeder. Insects like grasshoppers also are suspected to be included as “occasional” menu items for whitetail deer.

tographed predating the nest of a sage grouse. Also, Canadian researchers using nets to capture songbirds several years ago reported finding whitetail deer eating the captured birds right out of the nets. Field mice and ground squirrels also have been captured by cameras raiding bird nests. A whitetail deer or similar animal that normally feeds on twigs, acorns, buds, grasses, grains, and other flora foods simply will not pass up an easy-to-get source of proteins, minerals, vitamins, and other food values when alerted to them by an adult bird flushing from its nest, or while feeding next to a nest. Indeed, surveillance cameras have shed a lot of new light on what’s out there in the world of whitetail deer and other animals. Earlier this year, trail cameras set up by one of my buddies at a feeder in Stephens County captured a big aoudad ram eating corn, not far from a camera that has recorded several groups of wood ducks under a feeder that is far away from a stock tank or other water source. Another trail camera at a feeder on a low-fenced ranch in Palo Pinto County has captured several red deer that were not stocked there. These are animals no one knew were there, but if the hunters had described seeing an aoudad ram, red deer, or wood ducks under their feeders, it is likely no one would have believed them anymore than they would if they had said they had watched a deer eat the eggs from a quail nest. So, what else do deer eat that is not on the browse and grasses menus? We all know deer love apples—or do they? Another hunting companion in Stephens County ranch cut up several apples and placed then around his corn feeder during the past archery-only season. He was astonished when he watched a small buck bolt away from the apples upon sight. Later, two other deer would not approach the corn, showing an obvious alertness to the presence of something different at the feeder. The same scenario was repeated during the following general firearms season when

After all, everything from feral hogs to quail, turkey, coyotes, skunks, and other predators, as well as other insects feed upon them, so why not deer when they don’t have to chase them down. I have seen whitetail deer chew or “mouth” around on dropped deer antlers and spent shotgun shells, eat dirt spiced with bacon grease or commercial mineral attractants, and even attracted to peanut butter. You might not believe it, but they like hard candy, too. Whitetail deer and their relatives are grazers and browsers for the most part, but it is apparent they sometimes eat some pretty weird things. Even so, I am going to stick with corn in my feeder; eggs do not feed well through the hopper.

Deer eat quail eggs? Believe it.

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TF&G FIRST

By-Catch Reduction Aids Croaker TF&G FIRST

Taxidermy For Conservation

The author’s daughter, Faith, looks small compared to this big red snapper replica mounted by Global Fish Mounts.

CONSERVATION-MINDED ANGLERS KNOW RELEASING BIG, BREEDING-AGE FISH IS CRUCIAL TO MAINTAINING HEALTHY POPULATIONS. AN ARTICLE IN BIOLOGY SHOWED SCIENTISTS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO EXAMINED FISHERIES DATA TO DETERMINE THE EFFECT OF THE “KEEP THE LARGE ONES” POLICY THAT IS TYPICAL OF FISHERIES. The study found the effect of this policy is an unsustainable fishery, and that the opposite policy (keep small, young fishes and throw back large, old ones) produces a more sustainable fishery. In short, a big fish in the water is worth two in the net. The dilemma for anglers is a huge speckled trout, largemouth bass, or a host of other species are genuine trophies worthy of wall hanging. The good news is you can release big, genetically superior breeders and have them mounted, too, by choosing the replica option. “We can mount pretty much any kind of fish with many different size options available,” said Bill Dobbelaer of Global Fish Mounts. “If an angler sends us a photo of their fish with the proper measurements, we can produce a lifelike replica that will last forever, unlike a skin mount, and look just as good, if not better.” Dobbelaer noted anglers along the Gulf coast are starting to catch on to the replica option, and enjoy knowing they can catch big fish and not hurt the population. I have been getting replicas done for a decade, and recently had a big red snapper mounted that was caught and released during the season closure. A monster flounder and a big trout, both released, are in the works as well. Fish replicas make conservation cool and still allow anglers to commemorate our favorite catches in three-dimensional detail. For more information on fiberglass fish replica mounts, visit the website globalfishmounts.com —Chester Moore 40

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PHOTO BY CHESTER MOORE

THE SIGHT OF GULLS DIVING TOWARD THE WATER MEANT SPECKLED TROUT AND REDFISH WERE FEEDING BELOW ALL MORNING ON LAKE SABINE. As my partner, Howard Hammonds, and I worked on a limit of trout, we both cast an Old Bayside soft plastic shrimp into the action and instantaneously had our rods doubled over. “They must be reds the way they’re fighting,” Hammonds said. However, as we reeled in the fish, we realized they were not reds but supersized croaker. Both of these fish weighed nearly 2-1/2 pounds each. During the course of the morning, we caught several more huge croaker while seeking trout under the birds, and other anglers we talked with were experiencing the same thing. “I haven’t seen croaker this big in a very long time,” said one angler, who said he had caught half a dozen measuring between 12 and 17 inches. That was nearly two years ago, and since then I and many other anglers have witnessed a huge comeback of croaker, and it has everything to do with a massive reduction in shrimping related bycatch. According to National Marine Fisheries Service officials, shrimp trawls were annually scooping over a billion croaker along the Gulf coast. Now, with shrimping effort at record lows from a combination of a buy-back program in Texas, competition from imported shrimp, and rising fuel costs, Continued on these small, delipage 42


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INCE 1973, THE NATIONAL WILD TURKEY Federation (NWTF) and its dedicated volunteers have worked with wildlife agencies to restore wild turkey populations in nearly all suitable habitats in North America. As the need to trap and transfer wild turkey becomes less necessary, it is critically important to look toward the future of North America’s greatest game birds and work to make sure that future is bright. “The comeback of the wild turkey is arguably one of the greatest conservation success stories in our nation’s history,” said Dr. James Earl Kennamer, NWTF senior vice president for conservation programs. “A lot of folks have asked what’s next for the wild turkey. NWTF and its partners are ready for the next phase with the North American Wild Turkey Management Plan.” NWTF staff, grassroots volunteers, and agency partners have been working together to write the next chapter in the wild turkey success story. The Wild Turkey Management Plan will not only ensure the continued success of Continued on page 42

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NWTF Sets High Future Goals Endowment For Wild Cat Studies expanded this existing interest. The core of the ocelot populaOF BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS, HAS DONATED $500,000 TO tion in Willacy County resides CREATE AN ENDOWED CHAIR FOR WILD CAT STUDIES AT THE on the Yturria Ranch. Mr. Yturria preserved this core AT THE CAESAR KLEBERG WILDLIFE CENTER IN KINGSVILLE. habitat with the establishment Yturria began his support of ocelot of two conservation easements, an action research at the Institute in 1982, when that slowed the decline of this wild cat in Dr. Mike Tewes began trapping cats on Texas. Recently, Mr. Yturria has his ranch. announced plans to place the remaining “He spent an afternoon showing me portion of the San Francisco Ranch into his ranch, and pinpointed the locations a conservation easement. If the habitat where he had seen ocelots. After viewing can be restored on this property, then the dense brush and concluding it much security will be conferred on this appeared to be optimal ocelot cover, we endangered cat. began a relationship that evolved and Tewes has been working with the recently culminated in the Yturria Institute since its inception and has Chair,” Tewes said. “Mr. Yturria has become one of the top experts in wild cat always had a life-long interest in wildlife, ecology in the nation. and the natural world on his ranch. —Staff Report Becoming familiar with the ocelot RANCHER AND CONSERVATIONIST FRANK DANIEL YTURRIA

CCA Announces New Habitat Initiative IN AN EFFORT TO FURTHER ENHANCE TEXAS COASTAL HABITATS, CCA TEXAS RECENTLY PLEDGED $100,000 TO SEED THE HABITAT TODAY FOR FISH TOMORROW (HTFT) INITIATIVE. HTFT is a bold, new step in conservation for CCA Texas that will fund and initiate habitat restoration projects such as reef construction, marsh replenishment, and beach and bay debris clean-ups. “CCA Texas has been extremely successful in so many aspects of fisheries management that we believe the time is ripe to

expand our horizons,” said CCA Texas Executive Director, Robby Byers. “We have successfully created labs for research as well as constructing hatcheries that have produced millions of fingerlings. Now it’s time for habitat to be added as another arrow in our conservation quiver. This program is a vision implemented by our volunteer leadership that will have a profound effect on the Texas coast.” —Luke Giles T E X A S

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TRUE GREEN Continued from page 41 the wild turkey, but will improve habitat for a multitude of wildlife and plant species, while also focusing on providing more opportunities and access for North America’s hunters. “The North American Wild Turkey Management Plan is a compilation of plans that cover the United States, all Canadian provinces, home to wild turkeys, and selected areas of Mexico,” said Kennamer. “The plans will act as a guide to help wildlife management agencies and the NWTF’s dedicated volunteers target the most important habitat needs in their areas. “The Wild Turkey Management Plan will ensure our volunteers can make informed decisions when spending their hard-earned Hunting Heritage Super Fund dollars to not only put them in the right Continued from page 40 cious fish are coming back. places, but to make them go farther with Big croaker runs at Rollover Pass, Surfside, and Port Aransas once were an annual additional co-operator funds. Ensuring the tradition, but few anglers of this generation have ever heard of it. That could be changing, as more anglers report catching truly big croaker while seeing speckled trout and wild turkey’s future is a tremendous chalother species. lenge and the primary focus of the North TPWD biologist Jerry Mambretti told me last year that he and his crew were seeing American Wild Turkey Management more magnum croaker in their surveys, and suggested recent by-catch reduction device Plan.” regulations might be helping the species: “The amount of large croaker in our surveys Kennamer said the ambitious plan, has increased, and that could very well be due to by-catch reduction measures enlisted which will be updated as needed, will not by the department a few years ago. Croaker are a good food fish, and provide great only ensure a bright future for wild turkeys opportunities for anglers; we could be seeing more opportunity in the future.” —CM through the twenty-first century, but also conserve the flora, fauna, and habitat that define The National Commission on Surface Transits world: “The plan will portation Infrastructure Financing, a 15-member be dynamic and adaptpanel created by Congress, is the second group in a able by constantly moniyear to call for increasing the current 18.4 cents per toring progress, balancgallon federal tax on gasoline and the 24.4 cents per ing the social needs of gallon tax on diesel. State fuel taxes vary from state people with the biological MOTORISTS ARE DRIVING LESS AND BUYING LESS GASOLINE, to state. needs of wildlife, and WHICH MEANS FUEL TAXES ARE NOT RAISING ENOUGH “I’m not excited about a gas tax increase, but the provide accurate and relMONEY TO KEEP PACE WITH THE COST OF ROAD, BRIDGE, AND reality is our current gas tax doesn’t pay for upkeep evant science-based supTRANSIT PROGRAMS. THAT HAS THE FEDERAL COMMISSION of the system we have now,” said Adrian Moore, port for wild turkey manTHAT OVERSEES FINANCING FOR TRANSPORTATION TALKING vice president of the Reason Foundation, a libertariagement.” ABOUT INCREASING THE FEDERAL FUEL TAX. an think tank in Los Angeles, and a member of the A 50 percent increase in gasoline and diesel fuel highway revenue commission. “We can either let the —Staff Report taxes is being urged by the commission to finance roads go to hell or we can pay more.” highway construction and repair until the govern—Staff Report ment devises another way for motorists to pay for using public roads.

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TF&G FIRST

U.S. Saltwater Anglers Boost Economy

What’s In an Acorn? the Pineywoods, Post Oak Savannah, and northward through the Hill Country and Cross Timbers reported seeing very few acorns, and those seen fell from the trees long before the start of the 2008-2009 deer season. According to U.S. Forest Service officials, six mineral ingredients are needed by oaks to produce acorns: magnesium that produces green chlorophyll; calcium that gives rigidity to cell walls; potassium for regulatory functions; and sulfur, phosphorus, and nitrogen for protein. None of these minerals can do their jobs unless there is good ground moisture and adequate energy from the sun. If the tree’s roots cannot get enough moisture, the tree at some point will not grow and will not produce acorns. David Green, who runs a deer and quail operation on a ranch north of Corpus Christi, summed up the oak tree’s need for moisture to produce acorns: “The only oak tree with acorns at the ranch this year is one by the foreman’s house that receives daily watering from our sprinkler system.” —Bob Hood

A BLIND HOG MIGHT FIND AN ACORN, BUT EVEN THE BEST SHARP-EYED, NOSE-SNIFFING WHITETAILED DEER COULD NOT DO THAT IN MANY PARTS OF TEXAS LAST FALL. ACORN CROPS THAT DRIVE THE MOVEMENT OF DEER DURING HUNTING SEASON WERE, AT BEST, A BUST OVER MUCH OF THE STATE DURING THE 20082009 SEASON, DESPITE EARLY PREDICTIONS TO THE CONTRARY BY WILDLIFE OFFICIALS. “What acorns that were produced this season were much smaller than normal, and I think the big factor was that there were not many of them falling even before the start of bow season,” said Tom Coker of Fort Worth, a veteran deer hunter in Palo Pinto and Stephens counties. “Last season, there were acorns galore, and the deer didn’t have any reasons to come to corn feeders. They had so many acorns to feed on, there was no reason to come to corn.” Coker’s assessment of the acorn crop in the Cross Timbers area is shared by several other hunters and wildlife observers throughout much of the state, even in some areas where good acorn crops were predicted as late as September 2008. Hunters from the lower coast through

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ECREATIONAL SALTWATER ANGLERS pumped more than $31 billion into the U.S. economy in 2006, with California, Florida, Texas, Louisiana, and North Carolina receiving the largest share according to a new study issued by NOAA Fisheries Service. At the national level, saltwater anglers spent $5.8 billion on trip-based expenses, such as ice, bait, and fuel, and another $25.6 billion on fishing equipment and durable goods like rods, tackle, and boats. The top five coastal recreational fishing states are: Florida ($16.7 billion), Texas ($3.2 billion), California ($3.0 billion), Louisiana ($2.9 billion), and North Carolina ($2.0 billion). In addition to quantifying angler expenditures, this study examines how these expenditures circulated through each state’s economy and the national economy using a regional assessment. The $31.4 billion in total U.S. expenditures in 2006 contributed $82.3 billion in total sales, $39.1 billion to gross national product, $24 billion in personal income, and supported nearly 534,000 jobs.

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Big Shell Beach Cleanup HE BILLY SANDIFER “BIG SHELL BEACH Cleanup” is gearing up for it’s biggest year ever. Sandifer is the only licensed fishing guide for the National Seashore and the instigator and organizer of this event. Normally, this area of the National Seashore (17 miles south of the beach entrance) is considered beyond the reach of most other beach clean-up crews. It requires four-heel drive trucks, trailers, adventuresome volunteers, and a lot of organization. In the 2008 event, 400 people picked up an estimated 65 to 70 tons of trash. This year is special, as the clean-up is also a vital part of the recovery from Hurricane Ike, which inundated the National Seashore with millions of tons of debris from the devastated Galveston shoreline. The date for Big Shell Beach Cleanup 09 is set for the 14 March 2009 at the visitor center at 7 a.m. Four-wheel-drive vehicles will be provided, along with light refreshments. A good pair of gloves is recommended. —Staff Report

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THE AMBITIOUS PROPOSAL TO CREATE THE TRANS-TEXAS CORRIDOR NETWORK HAS BEEN DROPPED IN RESPONSE TO PUBLIC OUTCRY AND WILL BE REPLACED WITH A PLAN TO CARRY OUT ROAD PROJECTS AT AN INCREMENTAL, MODEST PACE. “The Trans-Texas Corridor, as a single-project concept, is not the choice of Texans, so we decided to put the name to rest,” said Amadeo Saenz Jr., executive director of the Texas Department of Transportation, at the agency’s annual Texas Transportation Forum in Austin. “To be clear, the Trans-Texas Corridor, as it is known, no longer exists.” The state will move forward with a series of individual projects that had been considered part of the Trans-Texas Corridor plan. Among those is the Interstate 69 project, which would run from Texarkana to Laredo or the Rio Grande Valley. Saenz said overwhelming public response was a key factor in the agency’s decision to abandon the plan, and he pledged that the agency would rely heavily on input from Texans through more town hall meetings and an updated website. The decision won applause from a number of officials and watchdog organizations. David Stall of the citizens’ group Corridor Watch called it a major victory for Texans. Gov. Rick Perry introduced the TransTexas Corridor concept six years ago, calling for a network of broad corridors linking major cities, with toll roads for cars and trucks, tracks for freight and passenger rail, and space for pipelines and power lines. The $175 billion, 4000-mile network F i s h

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Trans-Texas Corridor— Dead, Or Renamed?

was needed, he said, to accommodate rapid growth of the state’s population and the expected increase in Mexican truck traffic following passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. The idea drew criticism from the start, which intensified after Perry announced the state had contracted with a Spanish consortium to build and operate one of the sections of the controversial network. Perry said the name “Trans-Texas Corridor” is dead, but the state will continue to look at public-private partnerships to build roads, including toll roads. Texas house Representative Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, said she wants to make sure TxDOT is doing more than just changing the name of the project. “Is this an admission of error or a strategic maneuver to repackage?” she asked. “Unfortunately, there is a distrust of the department.” Kolkhorst said she wants to make sure the state retains ownership of new tollways so the revenue can be invested in more roads instead of “allowing the profits to go off potentially to other countries to investors.”


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50 2STROKE .........................................$4,199 90 2STROKE .........................................$5,995 115 2STROKE .......................................$7,278 200 HPDI VMAX...................................$12,875 225 HPDI VMAX...................................$13,960 300 HPDI VMAX...................................$15,960 115 4STROKE .......................................$8,095 150 4STROKE .......................................$10,695 225 4STROKE .......................................$15,360 350 4STROKE .......................................$20,695

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50 2STROKE .........................................$4,287 90 2STROKE .........................................$6,110 115 EFI.................................................$8,305 75 OPTIMAX.........................................$6,595 90 OPTIMAX.........................................$7,095 115 OPTIMAX.......................................$7,395 150 OPTIMAX.......................................$9,550 175 PRO XS ..........................................$11,700 200 OPTIMAX.......................................$12,300 225 OPTIMAX.......................................$13,195 250 PRO XS ..........................................$15,895

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TRUE GREEN CONTINUED... TF&G TRUE GREEN COURTESY OF FRIENDS OF THE SAN BERNARD RIVER

CONSERVATION PARTNERS

USACE Awards San Bernard River Restoration Contract to maintain safe waterways for commercial navigation. As an (USACE) HAS AWARDED A CONTRACT TO BEGIN DREDGING THE added benefit, this project gives the Corps opportunity to conMOUTH OF THE SAN BERNARD RIVER. THE CONTRACT, AWARDED tribute to the well being of our local Texas coastal communities, TO MIKE HOOKS, INC., OF WESTLAKE, LOUISIANA, MARKS THE and we have worked side by FINAL PHASE OF A PROJECT BEGUN IN LATE 2007 TO OPEN THE side with both the local community and other government MOUTH OF THE RIVER. agencies to make this happen.” “This is a significant milestone for this The mouth of the San Bernard has endeavor,” said Colonel David C. Weston, closed at the Gulf of Mexico because of Galveston District commander. “In Decemsand accretion, and the resulting blockage ber 2007, we announced that we would has diverted the water flow into the Gulf undertake the dredging under our authority Intracoastal Waterway eastward, exiting through the Brazos River floodgates. The increased velocity there has created problems for commercial navigation. The contract calls for dredging almost 339,000 cubic yards of material using a “GREEN” ACTIVISTS CALLED IN POLICE AFTER DISCOVERING AN ILLEGAL “LOGGING” SITE IN A shallow draft pipeline dredge. The estimatNATURE RESERVE—ONLY TO FIND IT WAS THE WORK OF BEAVERS. ENVIRONMENTALISTS FOUND 20 ed completion time is about 90 days, NEATLY STACKED TREE TRUNKS AND OTHERS MARKED FOR FELLING WITH NOTCHES AT THE BEAUTY according to Karl Brown, Operations SPOT AT SUBKOWY IN NORTHERN POLAND. BUT POLICE FOLLOWED A TRAIL LEFT WHERE ONE TREE Manager. HAD BEEN DRAGGED AWAY, AND FOUND A BEAVER DAM RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RIVER. A —Staff Report POLICE SPOKESMAN SAID: “THE CAMPAIGNERS ARE FEELING PRETTY STUPID. THERE’S NOTHING THE GALVESTON DISTRICT U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS

Beavers Reported For “Logging”

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Winter Texans & the Texas Outdoors HE BOAT IN FRONT OF US AT THE RAMP didn’t look like any bay boat I had ever seen. That might have been because it was made for fishing around Michigan’s Grand Island rather than South Padre Island. The deep-vee of the hull, high gunwales, and large tiller motor seemed more apropos for walleye and pike rather than trout and redfish. “She might not get as shallow some of them sleds o’ yours,” said Wally Kirkendahl in a thick Midwestern voice that hinted at his Upper Peninsula roots. “She’s good enough to get my wife and me where we want to go, though, or I wouldn’t drag her all the way here.” “Besides,” he said with a wink, “I’ll take the conditions on your water over what Lake Superior looks like during a big blow. It’s a lot friendlier down here.”

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vast and varied group of seasonal tourists who flee colder northern climates for the friendlier weather of South Texas. The vast majority of winter Texans (or “snow birds,” which some consider a derogative term) are retired, older couples. They come south in numbers large enough to have become an important economic resource in many coastal communities. “These winter visitors are of significant economic importance to the region’s economic health,” said Melissa Zamora, spokesperson for the South Padre Island

A mild December day’s visit to Marchand’s White Sands Hotel, Restaurant, and Marina in Port Isabel revealed a dining room full of winter Texans eating breakfast and discussing the day’s plans. The bait shop was crowded with even more of them buying bait, hooks, and other tackle, and discussing where there were the big school of sand trout and whiting were biting. “If the fish can stretch a line and tastes good on the grill, that’s all we need,” quipped one silverhaired lady wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with “Husbands are Good For Killing Bugs and Baiting Hooks.”) “It’s always like this on weekends from December through March,” said Art, a local who is also a White Sands regular. “Sometimes, they run out of live shrimp by nine o’clock in the morning. Quick Stop across the street is the same way, but those are usually the winters who go run up and down the island looking for pompano and redfish.”

by Calixto Gonzales Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Many local businesses rely on winter Texans to round out the tourist season.” Many of the local businesses up and down the South Texas coast are rod-andhook-oriented establishments that provide bait, tackle, ice, and gas to fishermen visiting the area. Winter residents, many from states braced or interconnected by the Great Lakes or the Mississippi River (and hence have deep roots in fishing, hunting, and other outdoor pursuits) thus become a major source of income in the off-season. A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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Old Money The economic influence that winter visitors have on the coastal economy stretches beyond simply being a boon for local business. They also serve as a pretty big stick to &

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In This Issue

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COVER STORY • Yankee Doodle |

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BY CALIXTO GONZALES

HOTSPOTS FOCUS: LOWER COAST • Spotted Islands | BY CALIXTO GONZALES SPORTSMAN’S DAYBOOK • Tides, Solunar Table, Best Hunting/Fishing Times | BY TF&G STAFF

HOW-TO SECTION

HOTSPOTS & TIDES SECTION

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TEXAS HOTSPOTS • Texas’ Hottest Fishing Spots | BY CALIXTO GONZALES & JD MOORE

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HOTSPOTS FOCUS: UPPER COAST • Spring Fever | BY CAPT. EDDIE HERNANDEZ

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HOTSPOTS FOCUS: GALVESTON COMPLEX • March Madness | BY CAPT. MIKE HOLMES

BOWHUNTING TECH • Examining the Portable Blind | BY LOU MARULLO

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TEXAS BOATING • Outboard Troubleshooting 101 | BY LENNY RUDOW

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TEXAS KAYAKING • Paddling Your Children | BY GREG BERLOCHER SALTWATER BAITS & RIGS • Loops and Hooks | BY PATRICK LEMIRE

WILDERNESS TRAILS • Amen | BY HERMAN W. BRUNE

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HOTSPOTS FOCUS: MATAGORDA & MID COAST • Temperature Dictates Mud or Sand | BY BINK GRIMES

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HOTSPOTS FOCUS: ROCKPORT TO PORT ARANSAS • Feast or Famine | BY CAPT. MAC GABLE

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HOTSPOTS FOCUS: CORPUS TO BAFFIN BAYS • Mother Laguna is Turning On | BY CAPT. JIM ONDERDONK

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wield when necessary, as the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department noted during the red snapper scoping meetings of 2007. The Gulf Council of the National Marine Fisheries Service had requested that TPWD “modify” its red snapper regulations to be in line with federal guidelines (the now well-known two-fish, 16-inch minimum size limit and April 21-October 15 season). TPWD held four scoping meetings up and down the coast to gauge public response to the proposal. At the Port Isabel meeting, winter Texans made their voices heard. “One of the reasons we come down here is for the red snapper,” said one winter tourist. “If you lower the limits like that, we might as well go to Arizona. There’s no reason to keep coming down here.” Several other members of the audience nodded in agreement. Captain Matt Murphy of Captain Murphy’s Deep Sea Charter Service, who also attended the meeting, shook his head. “If we lose the winter tourist trade, we’ll have to close our doors. They mean that much to our bottom line.” Ultimately, the rule proposal was abandoned and winter Texans keep coming, worldwide recession notwithstanding. C2

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TEXAS GUNS & GEAR • What is “Enough Gun?” | BY STEVE LAMASCUS

FRESHWATER BAITS & RIGS • Swimming Worm | BY PAUL BRADSHAW WOO’S CORNER • Big is Better | BY WOO DAVES TOURNAMENT NEWS • Joey Nania Takes Jr. Bassmaster | BY MATT WILLIAMS

Coming Early, Staying Late You would think that the sky-high gas prices of 2008 and global economic woes would most affect retirees, who usually live on a budget. Logically speaking, that would then extend to winter Texans, who would have to curtail their treks south because of the money crunch. The reverse, in fact, might be true. “We haven’t seen any kind of drop-off in winter Texan numbers,” said Zamora. “In fact, we have seen a larger influx of them.” On top of the increase in numbers, Zamora said many northerners are coming earlier in the fall and staying longer. To many winter Texans, it makes fiscal sense. “We’ve been living down here nine months out of the year,” says Kirkendahl. “The lower cost of living, the lack of a need for heating oil in the winter, the mild weather all add up to us living for less down here than in Marquete (Michigan). We come down in September, and go back in May, just like school kids.” Other winter Texans find alternatives to the expense of hauling big trailers behind 1ton trucks, according to Zamora. “We’ve also seen where many of them are leaving their RV’s and fifth wheels down

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GEARING UP SECTION TESTED • Bushnell; Daiwa; StarTron | C26 TEXAS TF&G S PRODUCTS • What’s New from Top C28 NEW Outdoor Manufacturers | TF&G S INSIDER • Hoffpauir Outdoor C30 INDUSTRY Superstore; and more | TF&G S THIS! • Smith & Wesson i-Bolt in C32 SHOOT .30-06 | S L M FISH THIS! • ZipVac: Keeping Game Fresh | C40 G B BY

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OUTDOOR LIFESTYLE FEVER • It Does Not Taste Like C34 TROPHY Chicken, But… | C M TALES • Mysterious Bay C50 SALTWATER T Worms | K FRESHWATER TALES • Post-Golden Algae C54 Recovery | B H FROM THE COAST • Ike Damaged C55 NEWS Galveston Bay Floor | TF&G S TASTED • Fajitas & More | C58 TEXAS B S DISCOVER THE OUTDOORS • C60 Classifieds | TF&G S ALBUM • Your Action Photos | C62 PHOTO TF&G S BY HESTER

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here, flying down, and flying back home again in the spring.” The result is that dollars from north of the Mason-Dixon Line flow into the Texas coastal economy.

Added Benefit Winter Texans’ benefits to the Texas outdoors are not limited to simple economics. Many groups and clubs—usually related to respective park members associations—offer a substantial contribution to community and environmental causes. Winter Texan groups sponsor beach clean-ups along South Padre Island. Others become involved in local elementary schools and, among other services, teach students about the outdoors and the environment. Winter tourists volunteer to help out in local fish derbies and as park guides. Boy Scout troops also benefit from the wisdom of a venerable former Scout and his stories of days past. “What do you expect from us?” asked Kirkendahl. “We love it down here, and we want to show that. Our home is north, but we live down here.”


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by Calixto Gonzales, South Zone Fishing Editor & JD Moore, North Zone Fishing Editor

aggressive because of a long warm stretch, they’ll hit shrimp tails bounced along the bottom. Watch for a weedline near the color change and fish parallel to it.

A Penny for Your Reds LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Unnecessary Island GPS: N26 13.811, W97 16.342 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: live shrimp/popping cork, live mullet; Gulp! Shrimp in New Penny, 1/4ounce redfish Magic spinner bait

CONTACT: Captain Ruben Garcia, 956459-3286 TIPS: The shallows are beginning to warm as spring-type weather starts to move in. Live shrimp always is a good first choice. Swim a gold safety-pin style spinner bait with a red/white or Texas Shad plastic around weedbeds if fish are active The ubiquitous Mauler/shrimp rig is always effective, especially if heavy March winds have murked up the water, or if the fish are deeper. Use an 18-inch, 20- to 30-pound leader for added toughness. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Unnecessary Island GPS: N26 13.800, W97 16.300 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: live shrimp/popping cork; Gulp! Shrimp in New Penny, Glow CONTACT: Captain Ruben Garcia, 956459-3286 TIPS: Fish the deeper water near the ICW to locate speckled trout that are showing an appetite after winter dormancy. The same live shrimp/popping cork rigs that you are using for redfish on the flats will work for speckled trout. If the fish have become C4

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LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Dolphin Point (bank access) GPS: N26 4.044, N97 9.712 SPECIES: sheepshead BEST BAITS: live or dead shrimp CONTACT: White Sand Marina, 956-943943-6161 TIPS: Sheepshead congregate in thick numbers around the rocks up and down the jetties from Dolphin Point to the end of the rocks. Live and dead shrimp can be fished under a cork so that it will hold just over the rocks. If the fish are holding closer to the edge, switch over to the lightest split shot you can get away with. Even so, be ready to lose some hardware. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Gaswell Flats GPS: N26 10.713, W97 11.107 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: live bait, 1/4-ounce gold spoons, soft plastics in red/white, New Penny CONTACTS: Captain Jimmy Martinez, 956551-9581 TIPS: Drift the basin that runs parallel the flats just south of the flats for redfish. There will be a marked color change along the drop-off, and trout will hold along the weedline to ambush forage fish and shrimp. Live shrimp under a popping cork, or a shad or shrimp tail rigged the same way are standard choices for this time of year. Pay attention to where you’re at; the shallows can get you stuck but good.

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BEST BAITS: live bait, Gulp! Shrimp in New Penny. DOA shrimp in Glow, Glow/pink tail CONTACT: Captain Jimmy Martinez, 956551-9581 TIPS: There are trout all over this long grass flat when water temperatures start creeping up above 70 degrees. Fish seem to prefer deeper water (3-4 feet), but they will roam up onto shallower bars an sunny days. If the wind is very strong, use a drift anchor (or two if it is really cranking) to slow down your drift. Live shrimp is usually the best bet, especially if the wind has dirtied the water. Gulp! Shrimp are a good substitute. Try a DOA on calmer days. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Airport Cove GPS: N26 10.020, W97 18.120 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: live bait, cut ballyhoo; topwaters, in Smoke, pinfish patterns; soft plastics in red/white, Bone-chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Jimmy Martinez, 956551-9581 TIPS: It’s a bit of a run to Airport Cove from Port Isabel or SPI, but the jaunt is worth it when the trout are turned on. Cut ballyhoo on a bottom rig or under a Mansfield Mauler is tough to beat. If the water warms up, then topwaters are a good choice, especially She Dogs and SkitterWalks. If the water is still cool, fish soft plastics near the bottom with 1/8th-ounce jigheads. Work slowly and keep a soft touch to detect light takes. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Airport Cove GPS: N26 8.813, W97 17.740 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: live shrimp, cut ballyhoo; topwaters, in Smoke, pinfish patterns; Soft plastics in red/white, Bone-chartreuse


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CONTACT: Captain Jimmy Martinez, 956551-9581 TIPS: If strong winds have turned the trout off, fret not. Redfish don’t seem to mind wind-whipped water. In fact, they seem to get more aggressive. If the water is off-colored, the scent of a big chunk of ballyhoo on a bottom rig will bring them in. If the water settles and has a bit of clarity, then try fishing a noisy topwater such as a Super Spook or a He-Dog. The louder the plug, the better. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Stover Point GPS: N26 12.195, W97 17.784 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: live bait, Gulp! Shrimp in New Penny; soft plastics in red/white, New Penny, Rootbeer; gold spinnerbaits CONTACT: Captain Ruben Garcia, 956459-3286 TIPS: Watch for boils and nervous water. Fish a spinnerbait with your rod-tip up longer rod (a 7- to 7-1/2-foot rod is best). Work it just under the surface to maximize the flash that the gold blade will pull from sunlight. Off-colored water might require that you switch over to live bait or Gulp! tails. Long casts will allow you to work more water and lessen the chance of spooking fish.

Morning Glory Trout LOCATION: Baffin Bay HOTSPOT: The Tide Gauge GPS: N27 18.082, W97 27.512 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Corky or Corky Devil in dark patterns; Bass Assassin in Morning Glory,

Baffin Magic, Pumpkinseed/chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: Gator hunters love fishing Baffin in C6

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March. Those who are looking for the trout of a lifetime will fish areas such as the tide gauge. The key is to fish the area as carefully and as thoroughly as you can (in other words, s-l-o-w-l-y). You may only get a few strikes per day, but they are from the sort of trout that make you forget the dead time. LOCATION: Baffin Bay HOTSPOT: Black’s Bluff GPS: N27 13.972, W97 31.112 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: suspending lures, topwaters in Smoke, natural mullet; eel-style plastics in Plum-chartreuse, Glow/chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: Fish the deep rocks with soft plastics on a 1/8-ounce jighead. A lot of fishermen break out Corkies for this type of fishing, but a Catch 2000 or Catch 5 is just as effective. “Dead Stick” this baits on a semi-slack line and let them sit in place for several seconds. Give them another twitch, and wait some more. If you are lucky, the wait will be well worth it. LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Compuerta Pass GPS: N27 19.766, W97 24.133 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: B&L Corky in Strawberry/black, Smoke; jerkbaits in Plum/chartreuse, Morning Glory CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: Wade the potholes 100 yards from shore. If the weather has been mild, trout will be more aggressive and may prefer a slightly faster presentation. If they are still in their winter funk, then go back to slow and steady. The fish will tell you what they want. LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Night Hawk GPS: N27 33.646, W97 17.658 SPECIES: Speckled trout BEST BAITS: B&L Corky, Catch 2000 in silver/black, Smoke, blue/chrome; jerkbaits in Plum/chartreuse, Blood/white, Bone/Foil, Opening Night CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, brushcountrycharters.com

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TIPS: Fish deeper water to find speckled trout that are suspended in the mid-depths. Jerkbaits or suspending plugs will stay in the strike zone longer than any other lure, which is important because of the need to fish very slowly.

Soft Plastic Trout LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Midlake Humps GPS: N29 54.906, W93 50.415 SPECIES: speckled trout BAITS: soft plastic in chartreuse patterns, crankbaits CONTACT: Captain Bill Watkins, 401-7862018, www.fishsabinelake.com

TIPS: If there are no birds working over schools of feeding fish, electronics will help you locate the humps. Drift over the humps and fish through them with shad tails. A novel approach is to use a crankbait to dig down deep. If the crank bangs along the bottom, you’ll get a fish’s attention. Fish are aggressive when they are on the feed, and will attack any fast-moving bait that rumbles by them. LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Willow Bayou GPS: N29 51.727, W93 46.867 SPECIES: flounder BEST BAITS: live shad, mud minnows; Old Bayside Shadlyn in Smoke, Pearl/chartreuse, Glow/chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Bill Watkins, 409-7862018, www.fishsabinelake.com TIPS: Flounder start moving up into the guts and cuts of bayous to ambush young bait that stronger tidal flow starts pushing out of the bayou. Fish around the visible structure with bottom bouncing baits and lures. Watch for bait skipping near shorelines to cue you in on where Mr. Flattie may be coming in for an easy meal. If the weather cools off, back up and fish deeper water.


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LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Willow Bayou GPS: N29 51.727, W93 46.867 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: soft plastics in Red Shad, Morning Glory, Black/chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Bill Watkins, 409-7862018, www.fishsabinelake.com TIPS: Watch for birds working the deeper water near the mouth of the bayou. Trout will be chasing you of the year bait that is pushed out of the bayou. Soft plastics that mimic baitfish in the 3-inch range are good choices. Fish the perimeter of any school you happen upon to try and find bigger fish that are picking off leftovers. LOCATION: East Galveston Bay HOTSPOT: Hannah’s Reef GPS: N29 28.632, W94 45.809 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: topwaters, soft plastics in Red Shad, Plum, Limetreuse, Morning Glory CONTACT: Captain Steve Hillman, 409925-7204 TIPS: Hannah’s is a good starting point for March fishing. Fish the middle of the reef in the morning with topwaters such as a She Dog or Super Spook, Jr, and the edges and guts with soft plastics as the day progresses. Watch for slicks, patrolling birds and nervous bait. Those will be your cues to locate active fish. Fish with the current when the tide is moving.

Shad & Shrimp Take Cats LOCATION: Falcon Lake HOTSPOT: San Ignacio GPS: N26 54.949, W99 19.230 SPECIES: catfish BEST BAIT: fresh shad, shrimp, prepared baits CONTACT: Falcon Lake Bait and Tackle, 956-765-4866 TIPS: Catfishing is always good on Falcon, but action really starts to shake in March. Fish deeper water around San Ignacio with C8

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either fresh cut bait or fresh shrimp. Prepared dip and sponge baits will work, but catch mostly smaller fish. Better blues and channels prefer meat. A standard bottom rig works just fine, but some fishermen like to use as little weight as possible to let the bait descend through the water column more slowly. LOCATION: Falcon Lake HOT SPOT: Falcon Lake State Park shoreline (bank access) GPS: N26 34.918, W99 9.028 SPECIES: catfish BEST BAIT: fresh shad, shrimp, chicken liver CONTACT: Falcon Lake Bait and Tackle, 956-765-4866 TIPS: Campers and day-trippers who don’t want to worry about bringing a boat (or simply don’t have one) can find plenty of fishing action along the bank of the state park. Some nice 2- to 3-pound catfish hang out among the flooded timber. Suspend your bait beneath a bobber (the old red/white round bobber is fine, but a popping cork has less water resistance when a cat takes the bait). Chicken liver is very popular, but I still prefer using shad, which catfish recognize as familiar prey. LOCATION: Falcon Lake HOT SPOT: Falcon Lake State Park shoreline (bank access) GPS: N26 34.918, W99 9.028 SPECIES: panfish BEST BAIT: red worms, crickets, 1/32-ounce jigs

CONTACT: Falcon Lake Bait and Tackle, 956-765-4866 TIPS: I mention this because Falcon’s panfish population is often overlooked. There may be a dearth of crappie and white bass, but there are plenty of sunfish and tilapia to occupy a child’s day. Break out the Zebco 33’s, the Aberdeen hooks, BB split shot and panfish bobbers, take your child and nephew or niece, and get out in the March sun. You don’t need heavyweights to have a good time.

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Sometimes, the bantamweights offer plenty of fun.

Gold Traps Take Bass LOCATION: Elm Creek Reservoir, near Winters, TX HOTSPOT: Cove due west of boat ramp GPS: N31 56.640, W99 52.437 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: gold Rat-L-Traps, spinnerbaits in chartreuse/white; Nichols creature baits CONTACT: Wendell Ramsey, 325-2274931, bram4@suddenlink.net TIPS: Small West Texas lakes are loaded with big bass. The cove straight across from the boat ramp is a great place to start looking

for large females. Cast a moving bait in the standing brush and reel at medium retrieve through the center of cover. If you see a lay down, flip a creature bait along the edge, swim it down the side, and get ready to be hit. BANK ACCESS: Camping available, shoreline fishing

Buchanan Stripers LOCATION: Lake Buchanan HOTSPOT: Paradise Point GPS: N30 51.303, W98 25,553

SPECIES: striped bass BEST BAITS: Pirk Minnows, white Curb’s striper jigs, Gizz 4 crankbaits, live bait CONTACT: Kandie Candelaria, 210-8232153, kandie@gvtc.com


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TIPS: Stripers are good in 15-30 feet of water around Paradise Point. Vertically jig Pirk Minnows, Curb’s striper jigs; troll Gizz 4 crankbaits while drifting live bait. BANK ACCESS: Thunderbird Resort, catfish, largemouth, crappie, white bass

Snake Up Some White Bass

Bucket Bait Stand, crappie, largemouth bass

Contact South Regional Fishing Editor Calixto Gonzales by email at cgonzales@fishgame.com

worms in Watermelon Red flake and black/blue flake CONTACT: Ricky Vandergriff, 903-5617299, www.rickysguideservice.com TIPS: Bass are beginning their spawn and can be found in main lake pockets and in the back of main lake creek channels. BANK ACCESS: Fishing Pier at Minnow

Contact North Regional Fishing Editor JD Moore by email at hotspotsnorth@fishgame.com

LOCATION: Lake Aquilla HOTSPOT: Snake Island

GPS: N31 55.215, W97 12,891 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: Little Georges, Tail Hummers, chrome Rat-L-Traps, chartreuse Slabs CONTACT: Randy Routh, 817-822-5539, www.teamredneck.net TIPS: Have your binoculars handy. The birds are still working on the whites that are gorging and spawning. Around Snake Island, use Little Georges or Tail Hummers, casting along wind blown points. Triplett Point is also producing a lot of whites. Use same lures. BANK ACCESS: Tailrace Fishing Pier, white bass on jigs, Little Georges, Tail Hummers fished in outlet

Chaney Gives Up Largemouths LOCATION: Lake Fork HOTSPOT: Chaney Creek GPS: N32 47.848, W95 33.603 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: spinnerbait, Shimmy Shakers, Long A’s, and Mister Twister Comida

For more Hotspots, Visit

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Spring Fever CANNOT BELIEVE SPRING IS ALREADY HERE. To me, March symbolizes a new beginning. Even though we have had only a couple of cold months of fishing, it feels like much longer. It is time to do things that really get us excited—like fishing comfortably. We can leave the gloves and earmuffs at home and go fishing. Who cares about the brutal wind? Our teeth are not chattering and our options are plentiful. It seems everything is coming back from the dead. The grass is turning green, the birds and animals are much happier, and the scent of honeysuckle and jasmine fill the air when we step outside. The giant oyster reef that blankets the entire south end of Sabine Lake is also coming alive. With the bull tides and increasing water temperature comes baitfishes. Sand eels, shrimp, shad, and crab invade the reef and are followed closely by hungry trout, reds, and flounder. One of the best techniques is to drag a Glow/chartreuse- or Morning Glory-colored soft plastic rigged

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on a leadhead over the oyster reef with the drift. Here on Sabine, we call this “dredging.” The key is to keep your bait on the shell, but not in it. While dragging across the reef, lift your rod tip occasionally to help prevent your leadhead from getting wedged in the shell. Hang-ups, however, are inevitable when dredging the reef. Be prepared to go through some tackle. When you are hung up, the best thing to do is lift your rod tip and apply steady, solid pressure. If you are lucky, it will pull through and you will not have to waste time retying. Be aware of the wind direction and what the tide is doing to help determine where to start your drift. Tidal movement is everything, either incoming or outgoing. We typically have more success fishing a strong incoming tide. It is a good sign when the crab trap balls are about halfway sunk. Use your drift sock to slow the drift down and your trolling motor to keep the boat sideways. Drifting too fast will keep your bait too high in the water column. Check your sonar often, as depths fluctuate between 4 and 13 feet. If possible, make a mental note of the depth every time you get bit. Also, keep your buoy handy because when you hit them, you definitely want to get back on the same drift. Although there are several other options on Sabine in

THE BANK BITE LOCATION: Causeway on SH 82 at Pleasure Island SPECIES: flounder BAIT/LURES: double-tailed white or chartreuse jigs and live mud minnows BEST TIMES: incoming tides March, we definitely do not pass on this one. When it is good, it is really good, and it is obvious by the excessive number of boats. We have counted over 50 on several occasions. At times, it appears that you can get across the lake by jumping from boat to boat. Even with the great number of boats, it still works because everyone is drifting the same direction at about the same speed. We do have to keep an eye out for the occasional anchored boat. My boat always seems to be on a collision course with that one. I cannot tell you how many limits of solid trout we have caught over the years dredging the reef on Sabine Lake, but it is a bunch. It is definitely enough to keep it as one of our first destinations in March. There are still plenty of other options as well. Trout and reds are beginning to chase shrimp from one end of the lake to the other, so look for working gulls. Flounder are also starting to pile up on the shoreline and in the bayous. Whatever you choose to do, remember to have fun and be safe. Do not worry about the gloves and earmuffs, because you won’t need them.

Contact: Eddie Hernandez, ehernandez@fishgame.com

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March Madness ARCH IS THE MONTH THAT CAUSED high-level college basketball to be invented, because even diehard anglers can only clean reels and rearrange the tackle cabinets a finite number of times. The weather is generally cool and windy, and the tides are not at their peak. Other than the last of the black drum run that might have started last month, and some panfish opportunities, bay fishing is spotty

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at best. Proving that it is indeed an ill wind that does not blow some good, the ravages of Hurricane Ike will have given fishermen in the hard-hit Galveston area reason to be out and about instead of watching tall guys disguised as college students play thumpthump to enrich a bunch of bookies. Much of the fishing infrastructure in the area was damaged or destroyed, but what is coming back will be back by now, or well on its way. Although the telephone and internet are wonderful things, an investment of time and fuel to get out and look at favorite launch ramps, bait camps, and piers can pay off more handsomely than the office bracket pool. Not much live bait will be available right now, but asking a few friendly questions can let you know which bait shrimper

is still going to be in business during spring and summer, and whose bait-holding tanks will be operational. Most of the beachfront piers were badly damaged, but by now, we should be able to see which ones are going to be rebuilt. Some bay guides (maybe even your favorites) might be having a hard time replacing boats and shoreside accommodations, so now is the time to contact them. Websites and even print ads are never as reliable as a face-toface or voice-to-voice. The ferries should be back in operation for regular citizens, and most roads repaired. From San Luis Pass to Surfside is still challenging as I write this, and travel along the open beach is required

Continued on Page C12

THE BANK BITE LOCATION: The Galveston beachfront rock groins are again a top spot. The extreme storm surge from Ike washed away a lot of beach, and will surely have cut new passages through sand bars and dug new “holes,” especially around these piles of granite. ALTERNATE SPOT: Any part of the Texas City Dike that can be accessed, even by walking. SPECIES: Oversized black drum are again the best bet for action, with some pan fish available, along with an occasional red, trout, or flounder. BEST BAITS: It might be a case of whatever you can get, but savvy drum anglers can catch their own blue crabs in traps, and mud minnows are nearly always around for traps designed to catch them. Other bait species can be caught in cast nets, if commercial bait supplies are limited. BEST TIMES: A moving tide with sunshine and moderate to warm temperatures gets me fishing, and hopefully gets the fish biting. A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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Temperature Dictates Mud or Sand Pipeline, Three Beacon, Chinquapin Reef, Cleveland Reef, Raymond Shoals, and Long Reef are all good choices. Flats along the north shoreline and the Intracoastal are mud as well and hold better trout with a moving tide. Around Sargent, never discount Mitchell’s Cut or the bayous in Caney Creek. Nocturnal anglers set up light plants and take easy catches of trout with tandemrigged beetles, DOA Shrimp, and Gulp! baits. It goes without saying that live-baiters catch plenty, too, and have a shot at large sand trout on the bottom. In Port O’Connor, mud is found around the boat lanes of Espiritu Santo Bay. The deep channels surrounded by grass flats are havens for chilly fishes. Tossing a soft plastic or natural offering on the edge of the channel is an annual March affair. Closer to Seadrift, San Antonio Bay reefs are the ticket. Many of them have sharp dropoffs from years of oyster dredging. “Even on windy days we can anchor up on an oyster reef in protected water and catch trout,” said guide Chris Martin of Bay Flats Lodge. “Many times, it takes a live

ARCH IS A FICKLE MONTH. IT NEVER knows if it wants to hold on to the cold doldrums of winter, or sprout new leaves of rejuvenation and warmth with spring. March’s attitude has much to do where fish hang out. By now, you have read enough diatribes to know that mud is warmer than sand. I have seldom caught speckled trout during early March over sand and grass. Remember, I am talking about the middle coast. I know some anglers in Baffin Bay are probably screaming heresy about now. The one time was about five years ago when temperatures reached the mid-70s for about a week. I caught trout on topwaters while wading Ayres Bay and loved every minute of it. Bikini-weather rarely occurs until the last week of March, so be prepared to wear a layer or two and fish over a mud bottom. In Christmas and Chocolate bays, that is not a problem. The terrain is littered with clumps of oyster and mud. Drifters work over the shell with live shrimp, Gulp!, and soft plastics under popping corks. Mid-bay reefs in East Matagorda Bay are surrounded by mud as well. The

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THE BANK BITE LOCATION: Sargent Beach SPECIES: redfish, flounder BAITS/LURES: live mud minnows, Gulp! shrimp BEST TIMES: Last hour of incoming tides, first two hours of falling tides. shrimp to catch them when a front blows through.” Late March weather is never guaranteed to be warm. Remember the Easter freeze a few years back? If we are blessed with water temperatures inching close to 70 degrees, sand and grass will be a player, especially in West Matagorda Bay. Oil Field, Cotton’s Bayou, Green’s Bayou and, Tom and Jerry’s are best attacked by waders. Closer to Port O’Connor but still in West Matagorda Bay, the Cedars, City Slickers, and the JHook are good choices. If you are unsure, work the south shoreline of Matagorda Island and cast to flats of sand and grass, or walk into the muddy bayous that lead to the back lakes. Again, like the weather, trout are fickle in March.

Contact: Bink Grimes, www.binkgrimesoutdoors.com.

HOTSPOTS FOCUS: GALVESTON COMPLEX Continued from Page C11 in some stretches, but it is passable. Many oracles predict better fishing in the wake of the killer storm, and I agree this should be the case. After the dead vegetation in the back marshes killed by saltwater intrusion has decayed and been cleaned out by rainwater runoff and carried further still by spring C12

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tides, the entire bay system should be cleaner than in many years. This is a boon not only to immediate fishing prospects, but also to the future hatch of shrimp and other bait species, as well as many species of sport fishes. Although this was a bad storm in terms of loss of property and human life, it will undoubtedly leave a legacy of better fishing prospects, and unlike watching your

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favorite team go down in flames long before even the “Sweet Sixteen,” you should not have to wait until next year to reap the rewards. Capt. Mike Holmes runs tarpon, shark, and bluewater trips on a classic 31 Bertram. To book a trip, call 979-415-0535. Email him at mholmes@fishgame.com.


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Feast or Famine ARCH IS A MONTH THAT CAN OFFER FEAST or famine fishing, depending on how the winter has treated us. Colder water temperatures through December, January, and February usually dictate a slow start for the beginning of the month, and years of warmer temperatures through the winter can result in a real hook-set fest as the month begins. I use a blend of winter and early summer tactics that have served me well over the years to counteract the unpredictable nature of the early spring weather. For example, For example, I focus on dark mud bottoms with adjacent oyster shell close to deep channels if the water temperatures are in the 60-degree range. Conversely, on warmer days, I look for

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flats with sand pockets and oyster under about 2 feet of water. Water temperature is everything this time of year; as with deer hunting and easy travel corridors, trout and reds seek the path of least temperature change. Winter months for these spotted wonders is tough, even though in comparison, our Texas winters pale in comparison to northern winters. Baitfishes are scarce and shrimp sometimes nonexistent, so to manage body weight/health, game fishes need water temperatures that are as consistent as possible. If you remember nothing of what I write here, remember this: 15 degrees in water temperature change is a magical number. If I see a change of this magnitude, I adjust my fishing strategies accordingly. This time of year, where you find an area that offers the least amount of change in water temperature, you will find fish. You need to keep this magic number of 15 degrees in mind where live bait is concerned, too; the No. 1 suspect in poor/weak/dead bait is lack of oxygen. The No. 2 is temperature change.

THE BANK BITE LOCATION: Live Oak Point at the south end of the LBJ causeway SPECIES: trout and redfish BEST BAITS: silver slabs, gold spoons, free-lined shrimp BEST TIMES: High tides. Shrimp with a change of 15 degrees or more will go into shock and shut down, whereas croaker, mud minnows, piggies, and mullet get lethargic or just downright die. Keep in mind this is March, not the height of summer where cooling livewells that are in the 90plus-degree range is a good tactic as long as it is done slowly. The following are some good patterns this month: COPANO BAY: Trout will be cruising in the deeper water off the shell reefs. Work Little Lap Reef and the point at Smith channel, free-lining shrimp. The northwest shoreline will be good for reds using cut bait on a Carolina rig. ST CHARLES BAY: On calm days, drift across Cow Chip using Bass Assassins in black or Rootbeer for reds. The mouth of Salt Creek is a good place for a popping cork and live shrimp for trout. When the north wind is blowing, drift into Little Devil’s Bayou quietly for reds. A red and white Super Spook works well here. ARANSAS BAY: The reefs adjacent to the ICW, like Deadman’s Reef, are a good bet for trout using free-lined piggies. An area seldom fished by boats is Live Oak Point on the south end of the LBJ causeway; this area holds a lot of structure and is a good place to wade. Gold and silver/red spoons are the ticket here. CARLOS BAY: Spalding will hold trout at mid-day. Use a rattling cork with live shrimp. Early morning on warmer temperature days, Pelican Reef will have some good red action using cut menhaden or Carolina-rigged mud minnows.

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Mother Laguna Is Turning On HAVE BIG EXPECTATIONS FOR MARCH. FISHING will really turn on with the water temperatures slowly on the rise. Trout have gone from feeding once every three days to feeding on a daily basis, and with the temperature increase, the trout’s metabolism

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increases, which creates an eventful fishing experience. I do not usually talk too much about fishing with bait, but if you are looking for some great line-tugging action, the black drum and redfish will be coming through the cut; put some fresh dead bait on the bottom and hold on. My arsenal for this month will contain a Cumara 6-foot 9-inch rod. It will be equipped with a Shimano Core 100 mg reel, spooled with Power Pro 30-pound-test in 8-pound diameter. I will have plenty of 1/16-ounce Norton screw lock jigheads on hand to go with Yum Houdini Shads and Brown’s Devil Eyes, in Plum, Morning Glory, and Texas Smoke. My slow sinker choices will be the Mirrolure Catch 5 and

A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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THE BANK BITE LOCATION: Packery Channel Jetties SPECIES: snook, black drum, redfish BAIT: Live shrimp free style for snook, fresh dead shrimp for redfish and drum. WHEN: Any strong tidal movement. Corky Devil, which are by far the best producers of my wall-hangers. I would also have a couple Super Spooks readily available. Now that we are equipped, let’s get to fishing, starting from Corpus on down. Try the Pita Island area by drifting or wading.

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for emerging baitfishes, small crustaceans, and larger finfishes that survived the long winter. They are hungry and aggressive. Redfish-minded anglers should set up a drift near the color change that forms between the deeper sand and mud flats near the Intracoastal Waterway, and the clearer water of the grass flats. Redfish cruise on the clear side of the change, but they will use the murkier water as both cover and an ambush point. Baitfishes also hold near to the color change because it provides cover— unless, of course, there is a hungry redfish lurking in the clouds, then it’s just another place to die. Live shrimp increases in availability during March, and it is the bait of choice for anglers who brave the strong March gusts or find a calmer day to make the long run from Port Isabel or South Padre Island, or the shorter run from the Arroyo Colorado. Most fishermen use a large 4- to 4-1/2-inch brightly colored popping cork with a live shrimp pinned on a No. 4 treble hook, suspended 24-30 inches below. The treble hook tears up smaller fishes, so more conservation-minded anglers trade the treble for a No. 1/0 Kahle or Octopus hook. I’ve had some success with smaller circle hooks, which lodge in the corner of a fish’s mouth, but many fishermen would rather avoid the adjustment it takes to unlearn setting the hook, and the resultant missed hook-ups. If you are going to use a

Spotted Islands ARCH SPELLS THE BEGINNING OF THE weather patterns that will dictate fishing strategies over the next several months. Should Old Man Winter begin to back off and milder weather begins to prevail, then redfish and trout activity picks up and fishing improves from wintertime-good to levels approaching springtime-fantastic. Of course, March in South Texas also means strong winds, which sometimes track in 30-35 knots (that’s 35-40 mph to landlubbers). You might still have to pick your days to go out, but there are more to choose from. When you do get out on the water, you will find good numbers (very good numbers, actually) of redfish cruising the flats North of Port Isabel near Three Islands (N25 17.303, W97 17.171). The stronger spring tides that begin in March push more water onto the flats, and you’ll find deeper water around Three Islands. Redfish cruise around the grass and algae clumps looking

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THE BANK BITE HOTSPOT: Holly Beach, N26 8.291, W97 17.004 SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish TIPS: Fish live bait under a popping cork, or gold spoons along grass edges. Be careful of kite surfers; they lack manners.

treble, roll or mash down the barbs to minimize trauma to the fish. If you keep the line tight, you won’t lose a fish. Use the brightest cork you can find. When the wind kicks up a chop, a tall cork in florescent orange or Kelly green is much easier to spot. If you can’t spot it, reel until your line comes tight and set the hook. A red has probably taken the bait and moved toward you. Lure aficionados will shelve their topwaters most of this month. The combination of deeper water and stronger chop makes a Top Dog’s effectiveness an iffy proposition—unless you hit a spoil bank shoreline early enough that the wind hasn’t cranked up. Most grinders will fling soft plastics such as the Saltwater Assassin in Limetreuse or

HOTSPOTS FOCUS: CORPUS TO BAFFIN BAYS Continued from Page C15 Do not pass up the King Ranch shoreline around Beacrofts in the deeper grass lines and guts. The area around Nighthawk will be holding good numbers of specks. Wade the shoreline around Emmord’s Hole and watch for schooling baitfishes. The rocks behind Compuertas Pass will be a good place to bounce a plastic off the bottom. C16

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Getting down Baffin way, the soft mud and rocky structure around the Badlands make for a day of fishing itself. It has the best of both worlds: warming mud and structure to help hold bait. Penascal Point will hold trout early morning and in the late evening hours. The whole King Ranch shoreline between Penascal and Rocky Slough holds trout, reds, and flounder. The spoil banks from the old game warden cabin to the mouth of

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the cut have some good number of trout around them. You will want to fish the east side. This would also be a very good time to break out those slow sinkers. Remember, you will need to be patient when fishing the slow sinker.

Contact: Capt. Jim “Donk” Onderdonk, 361-774-7710, www.pocolocolodge.com.


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HOTSPOTS FOCUS: ROCKPORT TO PORT ARANSAS Continued from Page C14

shrimp; target the deeper reefs in this area.

MESQUITE BAY: Wade-fish the mouth of Cedar Bayou using Bass Assassins in Morning Glory and Red Shad colors. The east shoreline is a good bet for black drum

using peeled shrimp on a popping cork, or small cracked crab on a Carolina rig. AYRES BAY: The pocket of Ayres Island holds reds early in the morning; use freelined mud minnows. The north shore reefs are a good bet for trout using Berkley Gulp!

Morning Glory. Norton Sand Eels in Firetiger and Baffin Magic are also popular choices. The Berkley Gulp! 5-inch Jerk Shad is also an excellent choice. Use a 1/16-ounce jighead to slow the descent and keep them out of the slop. Shrimp imitators are also quite popular. The 3-inch Gulp! Shrimp in New Penny is the standard choice, but Glow has also gained quite a few fans. The DOA Shrimp in Glow or Glow/pink has started to show up in more and more tackle boxes. The most common method is to fish these baits under a noisy float such as the aforementioned popping cork or a 3-1/2-inch Alameda Rattle Float. The latter float’s squat shape makes it a little harder to see on a choppy day, but the internal rattles give off a louder, more constant sound as the cork bobs along. It makes the Alameda Float well worth the extra effort. If the redfish are not in a cooperative mood, move your boat to deeper water near the ICW edge, rig up a fish-finder or split shot rig, and plumb the depths for black drum. These bruisers are cruising the ICW drop-offs through March. Wind and chop

doesn’t bother them, and a big ugly would have to be full to the gills to turn down a live shrimp. No special tackle is required for black drum. The same medium outfit you use for redfish is more than adequate. Cast a shrimp-baited rig out just beyond the Waterway edge, and let your bait tumble along with the current. It won’t take very long before a pod of hungry grunters will come along. The pick-up isn’t a sudden event. Rather, the line slowly comes tight as the fish sucks in your bait and continues on its merry way. Lower your rod tip, let the line come tight, bring up your rod tip, and you are on. Drum are tough fighters. A fish in the 22- to 30-inch range will offer a stout fight with hard runs. When it isn’t peeling drag, a good-sized drum will sit in the current and sulk, forcing you to try to lever it up and toward the boat. That’s when it will make another run. The broad, thick fillets fry beautifully and make for a good meal, especially when you sit down to watch the Spurs whip up on the Rockets, or vice-versa.

March is the sort of month that Three Islanders should enjoy.

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Contact: Capt. Mac Gable, Mac Attack Guide Service, 512-809-2681, 361-790-9601

Contact: Calixto Gonzales by email at cgonzales@fishgame.com.

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Tides and Prime Times for MARCH 2009 USING THE PRIME TIMES CALENDAR

The following pages contain TIDE and SOLUNAR predictions for Galveston Channel (29.3166° N, 94.88° W).

T12

T4

T11

T10

TIDE PREDICTIONS are located in the upper white boxes on the Calendar Pages. Use the Correction Table below, which is keyed to 23 other tide stations, to adjust low and high tide times.

T13 T7

T6 T5 T17

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY is shown in the lower color boxes of the Calendar pages. Use the SOLUNAR ADJUSTMENT SCALE below to adjust times for points East and West of Galveston Channel.

T15 T16

AM & PM MINOR phases occur when the moon rises and sets. These phases last 1 to 2 hours.

T14 T18

AM & PM MAJOR phases occur when the moon reaches its highest point overhead as well as when it is “underfoot” or at its highest point on the exact opposite side of the earth from your positoin (or literally under your feet). Most days have two Major Feeding Phases, each lasting about 2 hours.

T19

PEAK DAYS: The closer the moon is to your location, the stronger the influence. FULL or NEW MOONS provide the strongest influnce of the month.

T20

PEAK TIMES: When a Solunar Period falls within 30 minutes to an hour of sunrise or sunset, anticipate increased action. A moon rise or moon set during one of these periods will cause even greater action. If a FULL or NEW MOON occurs during a Solunar Period, expect the best action of the season.

T21

TIDE CORRECTION TABLE Add or subtract the time shown at the right of the Tide Stations on this table (and map) to determine the adjustment from the time shown for GALVESTON CHANNEL in the calendars.

KEY T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 T6

PLACE Sabine Bank Lighthouse Sabine Pass Jetty Sabine Pass Mesquite Pt, Sab. Pass Galveston Bay, S. Jetty Port Bolivar

HIGH -1:46 -1:26 -1:00 -0:04 -0:39 +0:14

LOW -1:31 -1:31 -1:15 -0:25 -1:05 -0:06

KEY PLACE HIGH Galveston Channel/Bays T7 Texas City Turning Basin +0:33 +3:54 T8 Eagle Point +6:05 T9 Clear Lake +10:21 T10 Morgans Point T11 Round Pt, Trinity Bay +10:39

T22 T23

KEYS TO USING THE TIDE AND SOLUNAR GRAPHS TIDE LE VEL GRAPH: 12a

Tab: Peak Fishing Period

6a

12p

6p

12a

Green: Falling Tide

AM/PM Timeline Light Blue: Nighttime

BEST:

7:05-9:40 PM

Gold Fish: Best Time

Blue: Rising Tide Red Graph: Fishing Score

Blue Fish: Good Time

SOLUNAR AC TIVIT Y: MINOR Feeding Periods (+/- 1.5 Hrs.) Time Moon is at its Highest Point in the Sky 12a

AM/PM Timeline

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AM Minor: 1:20a

PM Minor: 1:45p

AM Major: 7:32a

PM Major: 7:57p

MAJOR Feeding Periods (+/- 2 Hrs.)

Moon Overhead: 8:50a 6a

12p

6p

12a

Time Moon is Directly Underfoot (at its peak on opposite side of the earth)

Moon Underfoot: 9:15p

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LOW +0:41 +4:15 +6:40 +5:19 +5:15

KEY PLACE T12 Pt Barrow, Trinity Bay T13 Gilchrist, East Bay T14 Jamaica Beach, W. Bay T15 Alligator Point, W. Bay T16 Christmas Pt T17 Galveston Pleasure Pier

HIGH +5:48 +3:16 +2:38 +2:39 +2:32 -1:06

LOW +4:43 +4:18 +3:31 +2:33 +2:31 -1:06

KEY T18 T19 T20 T21 T22 T23

PLACE San Luis Pass Freeport Harbor Pass Cavallo Aransas Pass Padre Island (So. End) Port Isabel

SPORTSMAN’S DAYBOOK IS SPONSORED BY:

NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION

Yellow: Daylight

TIDE PREDICTIONS are shown in graph form, with High and Low tide predictions in text immediately below. SOLUNAR ACTIVITY data is provided to indicate major and minor feeding periods for each day, as the daily phases of the moon have varying degrees of influence on a wide variety of wildlife species.

T9 T8

T3 T2 T1

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HIGH -0.09 -0:44 0:00 -0:03 -0:24 +1:02

LOW -0.09 -1:02 -1:20 -1:31 -1:45 -0:42


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NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION BEST:

= Peak Fishing Period

7:45-9:40 AM

= FALLING TIDE = RISING TIDE = DAYLIGHT HOURS = NIGHTTIME HOURS

Fishing Day’s Best Good Score Graph Score Score

MONDAY

WEDNESDAY

 24

23

THURSDAY

25

FRIDAY

SATURDAY

26

27

Set: 6:12p Set: 5:13p

Sunrise: 6:47a Moonrise: 6:28a

Set: 6:13p Set: 6:09p

Sunrise: 6:46a Moonrise: 6:58a

Set: 6:14p Set: 7:06p

Sunrise: 6:45a Moonrise: 7:27a

Set: 6:15p Set: 8:03p

Sunrise: 6:44a Moonrise: 7:58a

Set: 6:15p Set: 9:02p

Sunrise: 6:43a Moonrise: 8:30a

AM Minor: 3:42a

PM Minor: 4:04p

AM Minor: 4:24a

PM Minor: 4:46p

AM Minor: 5:08a

PM Minor: 5:29p

AM Minor: 5:53a

PM Minor: 6:14p

AM Minor: 6:40a

PM Minor: 7:03p

AM Major: 9:53a

PM Major: 10:16p

AM Major: 10:35a

PM Major: 10:57p

AM Major: 10:53a

PM Major: ——-

AM Major: 11:38a

PM Major: 12:03p

AM Major: 12:29a

PM Major: 12:52p

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 12:58p

Moon Overhead: 12:16p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 1:41p 12a

6a

12p

6p

6a

12p

6p

MAR 1

Set: 6:16p Sunrise: 6:42a Set: 10:04p Moonrise: 9:07a

Set: 6:17p Set: 11:09p

AM Minor: 7:32a

PM Minor: 7:55p

AM Minor: 8:27a

PM Minor: 8:52p

AM Major: 1:20a

PM Major: 1:44p

AM Major: 2:14a

PM Major: 2:40p

Moon Overhead: 3:13p

Moon Overhead: 2:26p 12a

SUNDAY

28

Sunrise: 6:48a Moonrise: 5:57a

Moon Overhead: 11:32a

= New Moon = Fi r s t Q u a r te r = Fu l l M o o n = Last Quarter = Best Day

12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

Tides and Prime Times for MARCH 2009

TUESDAY



12a

    

Moon Overhead: 4:04p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 11:54p +2.0

BEST:

BEST:

-1.0

BEST:

10:40AM-1:15PM

Moon Underfoot: 1:20a

Moon Underfoot: 2:03a

BEST:

12:00-2:10 PM

12:40-2:50 PM

Moon Underfoot: 2:49a

Moon Underfoot: 3:38a +2.0

BEST:

BEST:

BEST:

1:25-3:30 PM

2:25-4:20 PM

3:20-5:30 PM TIDE LEVELS

0

Moon Underfoot: 12:37a

TIDE LEVELS

10:15AM-12:30PM

+1.0

Moon Underfoot: None

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

1:40 AM 9:15 AM 4:40 PM 9:15 PM

0.99 ft -0.33 ft 0.93 ft 0.66 ft

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

2:35 AM 9:43 AM 4:51 PM 9:44 PM

0.99 ft -0.23 ft 0.92 ft 0.52 ft

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

3:30 AM 10:12 AM 5:03 PM 10:17 PM

0.99 ft -0.09 ft 0.90 ft 0.36 ft

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

4:28 AM 10:43 AM 5:13 PM 10:52 PM

0.99 ft 0.08 ft 0.88 ft 0.18 ft

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

A L M A N A C / T E X A S

5:31 AM 11:16 AM 5:18 PM 11:31 PM

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High Tide: 6:44 AM 0.98 ft Low Tide: 11:50 AM 0.52 ft High Tide: 5:15 PM 0.89 ft

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Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

12:16 AM 8:10 AM 12:23 PM 5:01 PM

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-0.17 ft 0.99 ft 0.76 ft 0.96 ft

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+1.0

0

-1.0


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NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION BEST:

= Peak Fishing Period

7:45-9:40 AM

= FALLING TIDE = RISING TIDE = DAYLIGHT HOURS = NIGHTTIME HOURS

Fishing Day’s Best Good Score Graph Score Score

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

3

THURSDAY

4

Set: 6:19p Sunrise: 6:40a Set: 6:18p Sunrise: 6:39a Moonrise: 10:39a Set: 12:16a Moonrise: 11:37a Set: 1:21a

Set: 6:17p Set: None

AM Minor: 9:25a

PM Minor: 9:53p

AM Minor: 10:26a

PM Minor: 10:55p

AM Minor: 11:27a

PM Minor: 11:58p

AM Minor: 12:03a

AM Major: 3:11a

PM Major: 3:39p

AM Major: 4:11a

PM Major: 4:40p

AM Major: 5:12a

PM Major: 5:42p

AM Major: 6:11a

12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

6

6a

7

8

Set: 6:20p Set: 3:20a

Sunrise: 6:36a Moonrise: 3:00p

Set: 6:21p Set: 4:09a

Sunrise: 7:35a Moonrise: 5:08p

Set: 7:21p Set: 5:52a

PM Minor: 12:27p

AM Minor: 12:54a

PM Minor: 1:24p

AM Minor: 1:48a

PM Minor: 2:17p

AM Minor: 3:39a

PM Minor: 4:06p

PM Major: 6:42p

AM Major: 7:09a

PM Major: 7:39p

AM Major: 8:02a

PM Major: 8:31p

AM Major: 9:52a

PM Major: 10:20p

Moon Overhead: 8:02p 12a

SUNDAY Daylight Savings Begins

Sunrise: 6:37a Moonrise: 1:49p

Sunrise: 6:38a Set: 6:19p Moonrise: 12:41p Set: 2:23a

Moon Overhead: 7:00p

Moon Overhead: 5:59p

SATURDAY

5

Sunrise: 6:41a Moonrise: 9:49a

Moon Overhead: 5:00p

FRIDAY

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 10:00p

Moon Overhead: 9:03p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 11:53p 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

2

Tides and Prime Times for MARCH 2009

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 4:32a +2.0

-1.0

Moon Underfoot: 7:31a

Moon Underfoot: 8:33a

BEST:

BEST:

BEST:

BEST:

BEST:

3:30-5:25 PM

4:00-6:20 AM

5:25-7:20 PM

6:20-8:15 PM

7:25-9:30 PM

Moon Underfoot: 9:32a BEST:

8:10-10:25 PM

Moon Underfoot: 11:27a +2.0

BEST:

10:00-11:59 PM

TIDE LEVELS

0

Moon Underfoot: 6:29a

TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

Moon Underfoot: 5:29a

Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

C20

1:09 AM 9:59 AM 12:51 PM 4:41 PM

-0.31 ft Low Tide: 2:12 AM 1.03 ft High Tide: 4:26 PM 0.97 ft 1.07 ft

• M A R C H

2 0 0 9 /

-0.42 ft Low Tide: 3:26 AM 1.18 ft High Tide: 4:04 PM

T E X A S

F i s h

-0.50 ft Low Tide: 4:45 AM 1.26 ft High Tide: 3:09 PM

&

-0.57 ft Low Tide: 6:00 AM 1.29 ft High Tide: 3:13 PM

G a m e ® / A L M A N A C

-0.60 ft Low Tide: 7:06 AM 1.27 ft High Tide: 3:25 PM Low Tide: 8:15 PM

-0.59 ft High Tide: 12:04 AM 1.20 ft Low Tide: 9:03 AM 0.99 ft High Tide: 4:39 PM Low Tide: 9:32 PM

1.12 ft -0.50 ft 1.12 ft 0.78 ft

+1.0

0

-1.0


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NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION BEST:

= Peak Fishing Period

7:45-9:40 AM

= FALLING TIDE = RISING TIDE = DAYLIGHT HOURS = NIGHTTIME HOURS

Fishing Day’s Best Good Score Graph Score Score

MONDAY

TUESDAY

9

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

 11

10

FRIDAY

12

SATURDAY

13

14

15

Sunrise: 7:34a Moonrise: 6:14p

Set: 7:22p Set: 6:30a

Sunrise: 7:32a Moonrise: 7:18p

Set: 7:22p Set: 7:05a

Sunrise: 7:31a Moonrise: 8:19p

Set: 7:23p Set: 7:37a

Sunrise: 7:30a Moonrise: 9:20p

Set: 7:24p Set: 8:09a

AM Minor: 4:27a

PM Minor: 4:52p

AM Minor: 5:14a

PM Minor: 5:38p

AM Minor: 6:01a

PM Minor: 6:25p

AM Minor: 6:50a

PM Minor: 7:14p

AM Minor: 7:42a

PM Minor: 8:05p

AM Minor: 8:35a

PM Minor: 8:59p

AM Minor: 9:30a

PM Minor: 9:55p

AM Major: 10:40a

PM Major: 11:05p

AM Major: 11:26a

PM Major: 11:50p

AM Major: ——-

PM Major: 12:13p

AM Major: 12:39a

PM Major: 1:02p

AM Major: 1:30a

PM Major: 1:54p

AM Major: 2:23a

PM Major: 2:47p

AM Major: 3:17a

PM Major: 3:42p

Moon Overhead: NoMoon

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 1:31a

Moon Overhead: 12:44a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

Sunrise: 7:29a Set: 7:24p Moonrise: 10:21p Set: 8:43a

SUNDAY

Moon Overhead: 2:18a

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Sunrise: 7:28a Set: 7:25p Moonrise: 11:22p Set: 9:18a

Moon Overhead: 3:52a

Moon Overhead: 3:05a 12a

6a

12p

6p

Sunrise: 7:27a Set: 7:25p Moonrise: NoMoon Set: 9:57a

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 4:42a 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

Tides and Prime Times for MARCH 2009

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 12:19p +2.0

BEST:

-1.0

BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 3:28p

BEST:

12:00-23:00 AM

12:20-2:50 AM

Moon Underfoot: 4:17p

Moon Underfoot: 5:07p +2.0

BEST:

BEST:

BEST:

1:00-3:40 AM

2:10-4:20 AM

2:50-5:10 AM

TIDE LEVELS

12:00-1:40 AM

Moon Underfoot: 2:41p

TIDE LEVELS

0

Moon Underfoot: 1:54p

BEST:

10:40-11:59 PM

+1.0

Moon Underfoot: 1:08p

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

C22

2:34 AM 9:55 AM 4:54 PM 10:04 PM

1.16 ft -0.34 ft 1.04 ft 0.53 ft

• M A R C H

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

3:50 AM 10:42 AM 5:09 PM 10:42 PM

2 0 0 9 /

1.19 ft -0.12 ft 0.99 ft 0.28 ft

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

T E X A S

5:00 AM 11:26 AM 5:23 PM 11:21 PM

F i s h

&

1.21 ft 0.14 ft 0.96 ft 0.07 ft

High Tide: 6:08 AM 1.21 ft Low Tide: 12:02 AM Low Tide: 12:07 PM 0.41 ft High Tide: 7:16 AM High Tide: 5:38 PM 0.96 ft Low Tide: 12:46 PM High Tide: 5:48 PM

G a m e ® / A L M A N A C

-0.09 ft 1.19 ft 0.65 ft 0.97 ft

Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

12:44 AM 8:28 AM 1:22 PM 5:52 PM

-0.18 ft 1.16 ft 0.85 ft 1.01 ft

Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

1:30 AM 9:51 AM 1:46 PM 5:26 PM

-0.20 ft 1.13 ft 1.01 ft 1.06 ft

+1.0

0

-1.0


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Tides and Prime Times for MARCH 2009 MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

16

19

SATURDAY

20

SUNDAY

21

22

Set: 7:26p Sunrise: 7:23a Set: 11:27a Moonrise: 2:10a

Set: 7:27p Sunrise: 7:22a Set: 12:17p Moonrise: 2:58a

Set: 7:28p Set: 1:11p

Sunrise: 7:21a Moonrise: 3:41a

Set: 7:28p Set: 2:07p

Sunrise: 7:20a Moonrise: 4:20a

Set: 7:29p Set: 3:04p

Sunrise: 7:18a Moonrise: 4:55a

Set: 7:29p Set: 4:01p

PM Minor: 10:50p

AM Minor: 11:19a

PM Minor: 11:44p

AM Minor: ——-

PM Minor: 12:11p

AM Minor: 12:36a

PM Minor: 1:00p

AM Minor: 1:23a

PM Minor: 1:47p

AM Minor: 2:07a

PM Minor: 2:30p

AM Minor: 2:48a

PM Minor: 3:11p

AM Major: 4:12a

PM Major: 4:37p

AM Major: 5:06a

PM Major: 5:32p

AM Major: 5:58a

PM Major: 6:24p

AM Major: 6:48a

PM Major: 7:13p

AM Major: 7:35a

PM Major: 7:59p

AM Major: 8:19a

PM Major: 8:42p

AM Major: 9:00a

PM Major: 9:22p

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 7:13a

Moon Overhead: 6:23a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 8:03a 12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 9:40a

Moon Overhead: 8:52a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 10:25a 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

FRIDAY

AM Minor: 10:25a

Moon Overhead: 5:32a

12a

 18

17

Sunrise: 7:26a Set: 7:26p Sunrise: 7:24a Moonrise: 12:21a Set: 10:40a Moonrise: 1:17a

THURSDAY

= New Moon = Fi r s t Q u a r te r = Fu l l M o o n = Last Quarter = Best Day

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 5:57p

0

-1.0

Moon Underfoot: 8:28p

Moon Underfoot: 9:16p

Moon Underfoot: 10:03p

BEST:

BEST:

BEST:

BEST:

BEST:

BEST:

4:00-6:50 AM

4:50-7:10 AM

5:40-7:35 AM

6:30-8:35 AM

7:30-9:05 PM

8:10-9:55 AM

Moon Underfoot: 10:48p +2.0

BEST:

8:50-11:10 AM TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

Moon Underfoot: 7:38p

TIDE LEVELS

+2.0

Moon Underfoot: 6:48p

Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

2:22 AM 11:50 AM 1:24 PM 4:12 PM

-0.18 ft Low Tide: 3:24 AM 1.12 ft High Tide: 4:12 PM 1.11 ft 1.13 ft

-0.12 ft Low Tide: 4:40 AM 1.19 ft High Tide: 4:33 PM

-0.06 ft Low Tide: 5:59 AM 1.22 ft High Tide: 4:44 PM

-0.03 ft Low Tide: 1.21 ft High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

7:05 AM 4:23 PM 10:19 PM 10:49 PM

-0.01 ft Low Tide: 7:56 AM 1.17 ft High Tide: 4:04 PM 1.06 ft Low Tide: 9:15 PM 1.06 ft

0.01 ft 1.14 ft 1.01 ft

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

12:47 AM 8:36 AM 4:02 PM 9:03 PM

1.09 ft 0.06 ft 1.12 ft 0.90 ft

+1.0

0

-1.0


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NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION BEST:

= Peak Fishing Period

7:45-9:40 AM

= FALLING TIDE = RISING TIDE = DAYLIGHT HOURS = NIGHTTIME HOURS

Fishing Day’s Best Good Score Graph Score Score

MONDAY

TUESDAY

THURSDAY



25

FRIDAY

SATURDAY

27

26

28

Sunrise: 7:17a Moonrise: 5:27a

Set: 7:30p Set: 4:58p

Sunrise: 7:16a Moonrise: 5:58a

Set: 7:30p Set: 5:55p

Sunrise: 7:15a Moonrise: 6:28a

Set: 7:31p Set: 6:52p

Sunrise: 7:14a Moonrise: 6:58a

Set: 7:32p Set: 7:52p

Sunrise: 7:13a Moonrise: 7:30a

Set: 7:32p Set: 8:54p

Sunrise: 7:11a Moonrise: 8:06a

AM Minor: 3:28a

PM Minor: 3:50p

AM Minor: 4:07a

PM Minor: 4:29p

AM Minor: 4:47a

PM Minor: 5:08p

AM Minor: 5:29a

PM Minor: 5:52p

AM Minor: 6:16a

PM Minor: 6:40p

AM Major: 9:39a

PM Major: 10:01p

AM Major: 10:18a

PM Major: 10:39p

AM Major: 10:58a

PM Major: 11:19p

AM Major: 11:40a

PM Major: 12:03p

AM Major: 12:04a

PM Major: 12:28p

Moon Overhead: 11:10a 6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 12:37p

Moon Overhead: 11:53a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 1:21p 12a

6a

12p

6p

6a

12p

6p

29

Set: 7:33p Sunrise: 7:10a Set: 10:00p Moonrise: 8:48a

Set: 7:33p Set: 11:07p

AM Minor: 7:08a

PM Minor: 7:34p

AM Minor: 8:06a

PM Minor: 8:34p

AM Major: 12:55a

PM Major: 1:21p

AM Major: 1:52a

PM Major: 2:20p

Moon Overhead: 2:59p

Moon Overhead: 2:08p 12a

SUNDAY

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 3:54p 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

WEDNESDAY

 24

23

12a

Tides and Prime Times for MARCH 2009

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 11:31p +2.0

BEST:

BEST:

-1.0

BEST:

10:00AM-12:30PM

Moon Underfoot: 12:59a BEST:

10:40AM-1:20PM

Moon Underfoot: 1:44a BEST:

11:05AM-1:50PM

12:00-2:25 PM

Moon Underfoot: 2:33a

Moon Underfoot: 3:26a +2.0

BEST:

BEST:

1:05-3:20 PM

2:00-4:10 PM TIDE LEVELS

0

Moon Underfoot: 12:15a

TIDE LEVELS

9:20-11:54 AM

+1.0

Moon Underfoot: None

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

1:58 AM 9:10 AM 4:08 PM 9:15 PM

1.14 ft 0.13 ft 1.10 ft 0.74 ft

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

3:00 AM 9:43 AM 4:17 PM 9:39 PM

1.19 ft 0.24 ft 1.09 ft 0.56 ft

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

3:58 AM 10:17 AM 4:27 PM 10:09 PM

1.26 ft 0.38 ft 1.08 ft 0.37 ft

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

4:56 AM 10:53 AM 4:35 PM 10:42 PM

1.32 ft 0.54 ft 1.08 ft 0.17 ft

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

5:55 AM 11:32 AM 4:40 PM 11:20 PM

1.38 ft High Tide: 6:59 AM 1.42 ft 0.73 ft Low Tide: 12:12 PM 0.93 ft 1.10 ft High Tide: 4:39 PM 1.15 ft -0.02 ft

Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

12:02 AM 8:11 AM 12:53 PM 4:30 PM

-0.18 ft 1.45 ft 1.13 ft 1.23 ft

+1.0

0

-1.0


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Page C25

    

Tides and Prime Times for MARCH 2009 MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

30 SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SATURDAY

2 Sunrise: 7:06a Set: 7:35p Moonrise: 12:40p Set: 2:15a

3

SUNDAY

4

5

Sunrise: 7:04a Moonrise: 1:48p

Set: 7:36p Set: 3:06a

Sunrise: 7:03a Moonrise: 2:56p

Set: 7:37p Set: 3:50a

Sunrise: 7:02a Moonrise: 4:01p

Set: 7:37p Set: 4:28a

AM Minor: 9:09a

PM Minor: 9:38p

AM Minor: 10:15a

PM Minor: 10:45p

AM Minor: 11:20a

PM Minor: 11:51p

AM Minor: ——-

PM Minor: 12:23p

AM Minor: 12:52a

PM Minor: 1:21p

AM Minor: 1:46a

PM Minor: 2:13p

AM Minor: 2:34a

PM Minor: 2:59p

AM Major: 2:54a

PM Major: 3:24p

AM Major: 3:59a

PM Major: 4:30p

AM Major: 5:05a

PM Major: 5:36p

AM Major: 6:08a

PM Major: 6:38p

AM Major: 7:07a

PM Major: 7:35p

AM Major: 7:59a

PM Major: 8:26p

AM Major: 8:46a

PM Major: 9:11p

Moon Overhead: 4:53p

12a

 APR 1

31

Set: 7:34p Sunrise: 7:08a Set: 7:35p Set: 7:34p Sunrise: 7:07a Set: NONE Moonrise: 10:31a Set: 12:14a Moonrise: 11:33a Set: 1:17a

FRIDAY

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 6:55p

Moon Overhead: 5:54p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 7:56p 12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 9:46p

Moon Overhead: 8:53p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

Sunrise: 7:09a Moonrise: 9:36a

THURSDAY

= New Moon = Fi r s t Q u a r te r = Fu l l M o o n = Last Quarter = Best Day

Moon Overhead: 10:36p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 4:23a

0

-1.0

BEST:

3:40-6:10 AM

BEST:

4:50-6:55

Moon Underfoot: 7:26a

Moon Underfoot: 8:25a

BEST:

BEST:

6:10-8:20 PM

7:15-9:30 PM

Moon Underfoot: 9:20a BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 10:12a +2.0

BEST:

8:00-10:15 PM

8:50-10:35 PM TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

BEST:

3:00-5:20 PM

Moon Underfoot: 6:25a

TIDE LEVELS

+2.0

Moon Underfoot: 5:23a

Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

12:51 AM 9:33 AM 1:35 PM 4:14 PM

-0.28 ft 1.46 ft 1.30 ft 1.33 ft

Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

1:48 AM 11:11 AM 2:26 PM 3:51 PM

-0.33 ft Low Tide: 2:54 AM 1.48 ft High Tide: 1:00 PM 1.42 ft 1.43 ft

-0.33 ft Low Tide: 4:09 AM 1.50 ft High Tide: 2:04 PM

-0.29 ft Low Tide: 5:29 AM 1.50 ft High Tide: 2:33 PM

A L M A N A C / T E X A S

F i s h

&

-0.22 ft Low Tide: 6:45 AM 1.44 ft High Tide: 2:51 PM Low Tide: 8:32 PM

-0.12 ft High Tide: 12:21 AM 1.36 ft Low Tide: 7:52 AM 1.05 ft High Tide: 3:06 PM Low Tide: 8:43 PM

G a m e ® / M A R C H

2 0 0 9

1.19 ft 0.03 ft 1.27 ft 0.81 ft

C25

+1.0

0

-1.0


ALMANAC C.qxd:ALMANAC C

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1:39 PM

GPS for Cavemen AVE YOU EVER LONGED FOR SOMETHING simple in an over complex, gadget-ridden world? I have, and it is often when I am trying to figure out how to work some new type of electronic gadget. If I want to play a DVD, I call Tristin, my 5-yearold granddaughter. I still wonder what was wrong with eight-track tapes and transistor radios. Not long ago, I was testing one of Bushnell’s new Onyx 350 GPS units. This is a miracul o u s G P S , with maps that overlay and tells you whether the land on the other side of that fence is national forest, BLM, national park, state park, or private property. It will do everything but dance and carry your canteen. I ordered one with rapture in my heart, since I have often needed to know exactly what it is supposed to tell me. I kept it a couple of weeks, spent hours playing with it, and sent it back. To be brutally honest, I was not smart enough to figure it out. If you are a modern outdoorsman, with all the knowledge necessary to make the Onyx 350 or its big brother, the Onyx 400, do what they are capable of, they are exactly what you need for wilderness orienteering, or any kind of orienteering, for that matter. I sincerely wish I had the ability to work one of them, but I have given up, defeated and dejected.

H

C26

• M A R C H

2 0 0 9 /

T E X A S

Page C26

A few months later, I received an email notice of the introduction of the Bushnell Backtrack GPS. The message said it was simple enough even a moron like me (or a caveman, to plagiarize a popular insurance commercial) could use it. I doubted it, but ordered one for testing on the off chance they were right. Well, they were right. The instruction booklet is six pages, only four of which actually contain instructions. Compare this to the thick book required by some of the more advanced units. On top of that, the instructions are simple and easy to understand. This GPS receiver has two buttons. The right button turns the gadget on and off, and changes the function. The left button sets the waypoints. It has a digital compass and three possible waypoints. Icons (a house, an automobile, and a star) designate the waypoints. That’s it. I turned on the Backtrack, stepped outside, waited for the icon that tells me the machine is tracking the appropriate satellites to stop flashing, set the waypoint that looks like a house, and went for a stroll around the pasture. Each time I looked at the Backtrack, there was a little triangular arrow pointing at my house and three numbers telling me how far away it was in American yards. It was right every time. When I am out in the brush, all I want to know is which way and how far is it to camp. If I shoot a deer or elk, I want to mark the location and get back to it. If I am hunting or fishing in the mountains of the Western United States and leave my truck to hike into a wilderness area, I simply want to know how to get back to my truck. The Backtrack tells you all this with the greatest simplicity. Thank you, Bushnell! Everyone I have shown the Backtrack said something like, “Finally!” The Bushnell Backtrack runs on two AAA batteries and is about the size of an extra-large pocket watch. It is the answer to the prayers of many. F i s h

&

G a m e ® / A L M A N A C

Contact: Bushnell, www.shopbushnell.com —Steve LaMascus

866-255-8406,

Daiwa 100 PA— A Zillion Times Better Crankbait anglers need a reliable, steady reel with plenty of torque and precision casting, and that’s why Daiwa designed their new Zillion 100 PA casting reel with a 4.9:1 gear ratio that brings in 22 inches of line with every crank. Those cranks will be smooth and wobble-free, too, thanks to the “swept-back” handle design, which moves the grips closer to the rod’s centerline to combat wobble. When I tried using the Zillion 100 PA to toss Rat-L-Traps to largemouth holding on a submerged hump, I discovered this design does seem to make for a smoother retrieve. What boosts the smooth factor even more is the use of six ball bearings in the reel plus one roller bearing. The reel is comfortable in the hand, too, weighing in at a mere 8.8 ounces. Despite the compact design, it holds a reasonable amount of line: 120 yards of 14-pound-test, or 100 yards of 16-pound-test. I found on-thewater

adjustments easy to do singlehandedly. The star drag is right at your index finger tip, and the way each arm of the star is angled in, it is easy to grab them with your finger—even when a


ALMANAC C.qxd:ALMANAC C

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3:08 PM

fish is on the line and your adrenaline is pumping. The spool adjustment, meanwhile, is on a grooved rotor right by your thumb. Again, you can adjust it without moving your right hand away from the crank, or using your left hand at all. Speaking of the left hand, southpaws will be happy to learn that the Zillion 100 PA is available in a left-handed model, tagged the Zillion 100 PLA. When I gave this reel a workout, it was hitched up to the matching Zillion casting rod, the TDZ701 MHFB, a 7-foot triggergrip rod rated for 10- to 20-pound-test line. The entire rig is astonishingly light; it feels like an ultralight. Anglers chucking lures rated for 12- to 17pound-test will really like this rig, especially when they experience the astonishing sensitivity of the rod’s bias graphite construction; it let me feel each and every bouncing pellet careening inside the Rat-L-Trap’s rattle chamber. Contact: Daiwa Corporation, 562) 8029589, www.daiwa.com —Lenny Rudow

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Then I noted a difference at the pump; not a huge difference, but when I filled up the noStarTron tank, it would take a hair more than the treated tank by about a gallon per 50-gallon fill-up. That’s a small enough difference to account to other factors, but if it’s a coincidence, it’s one I hadn’t noticed before. If you lay up your boat for long periods, note that StarTron stabilizes fuel by improving octane and removing water, varnish, and gum. Though I cannot confirm nor deny the claim from my own testing, StarBrite claims

StarTron can boost the octane rating of old fuel by as much as three points. The enzymes also clean the fuel by “eating” microbe growth and breaking water down into microscopic clusters. Unlike other fuel additives, which often use alcohol and detergents to treat water in the fuel, StarTron isn’t hard on fuel lines and seals. An 8-ounce bottle treats about 16 gallons of fuel per ounce. Contact: StarBrite, 800-327-8583, www.starbrite.com —LR

StarTron—Fuelish Intent It’s tough to assess the effectiveness of fuel additives, so I tested the latest and greatest in gasoline treatments, StarBrite StarTron for several months with a pair of Honda 90s before I thought I could put my foot down and say, “Yes, this is stuff is good enough to run through your precious outboards.” StarTron is unlike other additives because it is an enzyme-based solution. The enzymes naturally modify the way fuel burns by changing the hydrocarbon’s molecular structure. It allows more oxygen molecules to attach to the fuel, improving the burn and boosting efficiency. The better burn reduces carbon buildup on piston crowns and exhaust valves, while also removing deposits from injectors, valves, pistons, and spark plugs. As long as StarTron is in the system, it prevents carbon deposits from forming, too. I tried testing it by running one of the twin 90s with StarTron and the other without on a power cat with two separate fuel tanks (one for each motor.) After about a month, I first noticed the difference with my ears, as the StarTron treated motor simply sounded smoother and quieter. A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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MINOX Scopes Out Photos, Video MINOX has opened a whole new world for hunters and outdoorsmen with introduction of their all-new DCM digiscoping system – a digital camera, video, monitor and eyepiece all combined in one compact unit. Fitted to a quality spotting scope, the DCM

MINOX all-in-one scope: digital camera, video, monitor and eyepiece. (Digital Camera Module) provides a fast, simple solution for taking digital photos and video footage through a scope. Simply fitted to the scope’s eyepiece bayonet, this optics innovation is an ideal combination of a digital camera with normal functions, a 2-3/8” high-resolution monitor and an eyepiece all in one. Best of all, no additional equipment, such as brackets or special adapters, is needed to get into practical digiscoping. MINOX design-engineers have successfully bridged the separate worlds of high-performance optics and digital camera technology to create this compact, lightweight, affordable package. The DCM is convenient to carry because it weighs less than one pound and measures only about 2-5/8”x2-1/4”x23/4”. The large screen allows more than one person to view the subject at the same time, and also see the pictures taken or being C28

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taken. It’s like a powerful telephoto lens, and the 5-megapixel camera is multi-compatible – with five different bayonet fittings now available for high-quality scopes from Zeiss, Leica, Swarovski and Kowa, as well High-end boat builder Champion Boats as the MINOX MD 62 series. Using the has added an exciting new category to its MINOX MD 62 Spotting Scope, with a lineup - the 25 Center. Designed for saltfocal length of 440mm, the magnification is water fishing enthusiasts, the 25 Center 40X. provides tournament level specs and ChamWatertight and shock-proof, the DCM pion’s versatile rough water handling while can be used in adverse weather conditions, delivering the smooth dry ride that Champiand it’s built to stand up to rough outdoor on owners expect. use if necessary. A convenient, built-in “flipMeasuring 25 feet in length and a 102” up” lens hood protects the TFT monitor beam, Champion created a wide-open castand operating controls when being carried ing deck and plenty of storage for the touror stored, and even more important it serves nament level fisherman that likes to bring all as an anti-dazzle shield when in use, prehis gear. Great for the family as well, the venting reflections on the viewfinder. The 2larger console includes an optional porta3/8” monitor serves not only as the potty and can be used for additional storage. viewfinder but also for fine adjustments of Rated at 400 horsepower, the 25 Center the normal camera functions and for checking images after shooting. Remote control for zoom, shutter release, change between image and video, and video operation. Digiscoping with the MINOX DCM offers great advantages to a wide range of users. Hunters can see game Champion’s new 25Center from far away, and take pictures or video footage at the same time. can be rigged with single or twin outboards. Other outdoorsmen can observe from a safe For added reliability, Champion uses a 6 distance and still capture sharp images, rich gauge trolling motor wiring system with a 50 in detail. To store images, this exceptional AMP breaker along with manual reset camera has an internal memory of 128 MB, water-proof breakers and exclusive to Chamand a port for SD memory cards with up to pion, BIOS 5” digital gauges. Additional 4 GB capacity. Power is provided by a top brand components include a 2000 replaceable, high-capacity lithium-ion bat- GPH auto/manual bilge pump; center front tery. And the DCM comes complete with storage with a 5 gallon bucket recess and battery, remote control and soft pouch. raw water wash down with dual outlets for front and rear; Teleflex Sea Star Pro MAP is $399. MINOX/USA, P.O. Box 123, Meri- Hydraulic Steering; and a 10” R & R manual jack plate. den, NH 03770 Fax: (603) 469-3471 Phone Number: (866) 469-3080 www.minox.com

Champion Extends Premium Lineup

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Z-Man “Da Man” for Bass in 2009 SwimmerZ: Swim baits are all the rage for bass, and the Z-Man® SwimmerZ is the “swimmingest” of all with its tri-axis action. Because it floats, a SwimmerZ can be rigged and worked myriad ways, making it the most versatile swim bait you can tie on your line. Adding to the lifelike action are the pair of prominent 3-D eyes and beautiful painted, molded scale finish. The SwimmerZ comes in 4-inch

SwimmerZ

(4 pack) and 6inch (3 pack) sizes and is available in 10 strike-provoking colors. A custom Z-Man Trigger Hook is included with each pack of SwimmerZ. For additional information about the outstanding Z-Man® brand products, phone (toll-free) 800-822-3398, or visit www.zmanfishing.com

10X NWTF Turkey Hunting Vest The collaboration between Cleburne, Texas-based Walls Outdoors and the National Wild Turkey Federation has produced the best of all worlds for the avid turkey hunter: an affordable, officially-sanctioned hunting vest that delivers the functionality of true-blue Walls workwear, with all the handy features to help any sportsman bag the best bird. Made of quality lightweight Realtree APG HD cotton-blend camo mesh for maximum breathability, the Walls 10X® NWTF vest has an enclosed spine drop down and retractable seat pads (with water resis-

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tant closed cell foam) for comfort, a concealed blaze orange flag for safety, and a spacious quick- release Velcro rear gamebag with a blood-proof liner for transport. Hunters will particularly appreciate the plentiful pockets inside and out for storage and common calls, including 2 diaphragm with snap closures, striker pocket, box call with a cinch cord, slate call pocket, 2 lower bellows with snap flaps and inside shell loops, with 2 large zippered patch pockets. The Walls 10X® Turkey Vest features the embroidered NWTF logo and is available in M/L, XL and 2XL at Bass Pro Shops and hundreds of independent retailers nationwide. It can be purchased online for $49.99 at www.walls.com or by calling Customer Service at 800-433-1765.

Pattern Density Technology™, “fill in the blanks” in your pattern so you cleanly kill birds you might otherwise have missed or crippled. “It’s just one more example of how ENVIRON-Metal® products put the odds of success on your side in the field,” said Ron Petty, VP of Sales and Marketing. “And hunters will love the price”. HEVI-Metal ™ shells come in affordable 25 count boxes that allow all of us who are watching our budgets to get superior performance on ducks and geese.

The Power of Lite The “New” Troutmaster LiteTM series rods feature “New” Power LiteTM 85 Million Modulus Hybrid/Graphite blanks. Equipped with “NEW” SS304 Titanium coated stainless steel guides, Tour Grip XLTTM handle systems, and “New” Precision TouchTM reel seats, the Troutmaster LiteTM series rods are extremely light weight, ultra sensitive and super tough. Casting models come in lengths 6’5”, 6’6” 6’9” and 7’0”. Spinning models are 7’0” in length. Both model series are available in Medium-Light and Medium actions. For more information, go to www.americanrodsmiths.com or call 713466-7849.

HEVI-Metal Packs a Lethal Punch Environ-Metal, Inc., makers of HEVIShot ® high performance shotshells, announced today a new tune in shotshell science: HEVI-Metal™ Waterfowl Loads using just-released Pattern Density Technology™. These shotshells put 20% more lethal pellets on-target at 40 yards than any steel ammunition. Waterfowl hunters are aware of the limitations of steel waterfowl shotshells; after 40 yards, the steel shells all run out of either pellets on target or energy. ENVIRONMetal’s breakthrough Pattern Density Technology™ solves this problem by boosting the pellet count of steel shotshells with newly perfected HEVI-Metal™ pellets. The new, high-energy, high-density HEVI-Metal™ pellets dramatically boost the effectiveness of the shotshell, and deliver on average 20% more lethal pellets on birds at 40 yards. HEVI-Metal™ shells with

Scout 245 XSF The all-new Scout 245 XSF is a forward seating model delivering the ultimate in sportfishing action and performance without sacrificing comfort or style. The 245 XSF measures 24’5” long with a wide beam of 8’6”. This power packed center console also contains a 125-gallon fuel tank, which allows anglers to get to the fishing grounds and back with unprecedented range. The technologically-advanced fuel

HEVI-Metal shot

NWTF turkey vest from 10X

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Hoffpauir Outdoor Superstore N 2007, LEE HOFFPAUIR DECIDED HE WOULD like to add an ATV/UTV store to his holdings. After all, he was an outdoors person and knew a good off-road vehicle when he rode one. The opportunity presented itself in Goldthwaite when a small dealership was open to selling. The dealership previously averaged eight units a month in sales. At the end of 2008, average sales had jumped to 60 units per month, nailing down top Polaris dealership honors in Texas for Hoffpauir. On the national scene, final sales numbers for 2008 were not available as of the writing of this report, but Hoffpauir was predicting top honors on the national scene as well: “If we sell our 50 units this month, which I think we will do, it is going to happen. That will put us over 300 Ranger sales for the year. Only four other dealers have ever achieved this. That should put us at No. 1 in the nation for 2008.” The Goldthwaite store was originally a one-man operation. It is now an eight-person operation. The Superstore has relocated to a 54-acre tract on Hwy. 84. The new 15,000square-foot building includes 4000 square feet of showroom space, plus lots of outdoor display space. Besides Polaris Ranger ATVs and UTVs, the Outdoor Superstore sells many additional power products, including Arctic Cat, Cub Cadet, and Team Joyner USA. Team Joyner USA is a sports utility vehicle. The Cub Cadet product line includes everything from weedeaters and lawn mowers to tractors. If you need a trailer to tow behind

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speed is better. The low-range on the new XP feels like you are in high range on the other 4Wheelers. “Shorter people can get in it and sit down, lean back, and use the full function of the seat and feel comfortable. Lee Hoffpauir (2nd from right) of Hoffpauir Outdoor Superstore They accomplished this with your ATV, UTV, or truck, the Superstore the tilt steering. They have moved the foot sells Big Tex, Texas Brag, Hallmark Cargo pedals more in front of you instead of off to the Trailers, and S&H Cattle Trailers. “Just side, as they previously were located. The about anything anybody could want,” said front suspension has been changed to double Hoffpauir A-arms, making it easier to steer, smoother, Polaris states in their advertising that every- and it gives it more ground clearance. People thing has changed for 2009, with the excep- need to drive a Ranger and see how comforttion of the shifter knob. Buy a new Polaris, able they are. and the company will ship a new knob so that “Everything really stands out. Everything your vehicle is completely new. combined into one great vehicle makes the 4Nick Hamilton, General Manager for the Wheeler ten times better than the previous Hoffpauir Outdoor Superstore, described models. Just get on it and drive it; you will see some of the changes in the Polaris XP: the big difference.” “Power steering is an available option, but The name Hoffpauir is established and even the UTV without power steering steers respected the auto business in Central Texas. better than 90 percent of the UTVs out there. Hoffpauir dealerships include Ford and MerThey have redesigned the front-end suspen- cury in Lampasas, also a Chevrolet, Pontiac, sion geometry to have less kick back on the Buick, and Cadillac store. In Marble Falls, steering when going over rough terrain, hitting you will find the Hoffpauir name on a rocks, jerking your hands back and forth. Chevrolet and Buick dealership. In addition They have changed the rear suspension to to the Outdoor Superstore in Goldthwaite, give it better weight handling. It doesn’t squat Lee Hoffpauir features Cub Cadet and Arcnear as bad with the same load on it as the tic Cat at his store in Burnet and Arctic Cat year before. in Marble Falls. “They have turned the engine sideways to “We have been in Central Texas for 44 give a narrower seat width; your legs aren’t years now, and we couldn’t have stuck around spread as far apart, making a more comfort- this long if we were steering you wrong. I am able ride. It gives twice as much legroom on just proud as I can be about our new store, the the floorboard. The radiators are bigger, run- Hoffpauir Outdoor Superstore. When I ning a lot cooler. bought it, I knew it had some potential, but I “The redesign of the transmission and had no idea it would have the success it has clutch makes for quieter operation, and the had.” F i s h

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Contact: Hoffpauir Outdoor Superstore, 325-648-3341, www.hautogroup.com —Tom Behrens •••

PUMA Gets New North America Distributors Puma GmbH IP Solingen, Manufacturer of PUMA knives, is pleased to announce the appointment of PUMA Knife Company USA as exclusive distributors of the PUMA knife brand in the United States, Canada, and. Industry veterans Bob Carpenter and Chris Lalik are heading the new PUMA North America Company. The new distributors will be located in Overland Park, Kansas. Since it was formed on the Wupper River in 1769, PUMA has set the standard that established Solingen, Germany, as the world’s premier knife manufacturing center. PUMA is, in fact, the eighth oldest trademark in Germany. PUMA has been distributed in the United States since 1957 and has established a strong reputation for high-quality hunting knives. Bob Carpenter, President of PUMA Knife Company USA, has 15 years experi-

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Texas International Boat Show brings the very latest in luxury motor homes, trucks, and custom bikes exhibited alongside Maserati and Ferrari, creating a unique marketplace in a relaxed and leisurely environment. Add to this live music from The Bahamas each day, fashion shows, live bands on stage Friday and Saturday evening, a full blown international wakeboard exhibition and tournament on-the-water along the Corpus Christi Bayfront, plus plenty of fun for the children, and you have the Texas International Boat Show 2009.

ence in the outdoor business at Coast Cutlery. Chris Lalik, Vice President of Marketing and Operations, spent the past 16 years with Bushnell Performance Optics and Meade Instruments. General Manager Harald Lauer said: “We are excited about our new partnership with the PUMA Knife Company USA. The North American market is the biggest knife market in the world, and we look forward to writing the next chapter in the storied history of PUMA in North America.”

Texas International Boat Show

EVENTS - Thursday, 23 April, 10:30 a.m., Opening Ceremony: The Texas International Boat Show will be officially opened by Mayor Henry Garrett at the Corpus Christi Marina, People’s Street T-Head, Corpus Christi. - Friday and Saturday, 24-25 April, 5-7 p.m.: Live evening entertainment from the Budweiser Stage. - Daily: The Wakeboard Tournament and Waterski Exhibition, located on Corpus Christi Bayfront, presented by Texas Ski Ranch, MasterCraft, and Gulf Coast Marine. Sponsors include: Michelob Ultra, CITGO, Coca Cola, GMC, and Whataburger

The Texas International Boat Show, presented by American Bank, now in its third year, will again take place at the Corpus Christi Marina from 23-26 April 2009—a truly international show attracting buyers and sellers from around the world with over 50,000 visitors attending the show in 2008. Together on one of the largest boat show sites in Texas will be 400 boats ranging from 10 to 120 feet, in the water and ready for demo, with another 200 boats exhibited ashore. Along with offering a full range of products and services for the active boating lifestyle, the

NEW PRODUCTS Continued from Page C29 efficient hull means tremendous fuel savings, and combined with the bow flare assures a very dry and exceptionally smooth ride when slicing through rough seas. This is a serious fishing vessel. The 245 features insulated port and starboard

fish boxes (40 gallons each), an insulated forward cooler (40 quarts) and the forward console seat houses an insulated console cooler (165 quarts). Two bait wells sit port and starboard aft, nine and ten gallons respectively – and there’s even room for a large bucket to fit inside the starboard well.

Diaphresh Teams with Commando Combining an innovative new concept with another quality product is always a good idea. The folks at Diaphresh™ and Commando™ have done just that. First they started with the revolutionary Diaphresh™ System, (as seen on the American Outdoorsman & Southern Woods and Waters TV) with its patentpending Field Case, featuring the Reed Rack™. This System entirely and effectively addresses every aspect of diaphragm mouth call use, care and storage. As award-winning writer Steve Sorensen put it (EverydayHunter.com), “there are a number of problems associated with mouth

PHOTO COURTESY OF SCOUT BOATS

SCOUT 245XSF SPECIFICATIONS Length: 24’5” Beam: 8’6” Dry Weight w/o engines (approx): 2,600 lbs Fuel Capacity: 125 gallons Water Capacity: 15 gallons Maximum HP: 300 hp Rec. HP: 225/250 Draft (approx): 17” Deadrise at transom: 20° (NuV3 hull) Waste Holding Tank: 10 gallons TOP: LOGO COURTESY OF PUMA

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Smith & Wesson i-Bolt in .30-06 trolled, litigation-happy age. Almost every gun I have tested in the last few years had far too much creep in the trigger, as if the technician who set it was afraid it would go off. Well, let me tell you a secret: The trigger of a gun is supposed to make it go off. Get real and fix those triggers! This one, however,

HE FIRST TIME I SAW THE SMITH & WESSON i-Bolt was at the SHOT show in January 2008. At first, I thought it was a rather clunky-looking gun, with its square fore end and inset sling swivels. Also, the pistol grip at the wrist was a bit different, looking too long and thin, with the grip cap extended farther than normal below the bottom line of the buttstock. Still, when I put the gun to my shoulder, it felt good. When I returned from SHOT, I ordered an i-Bolt for testing. Here is what I found. The camo pattern on the synthetic stock is actually quite attractive as well as functional. The flat-black finish on the metal parts is as functional as any I have seen, as is the one-piece bridge mount that came with the gun. This gun is obviously intended for hard use. I mounted a Leupold VariX III 3.5-10X and began testing. First the negatives: The trigger is too creepy. I have all but given up on getting a good trigger straight from the factory. This is a symptom of our modern, lawyer-con-

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unlike some I have seen lately, is not terribly objectionable and light enough to be shootable, breaking at about 3.5 pounds. It is adjustable from 3 to about 6 pounds with a tool included with the gun, but I didn’t attempt to adjust it. The release from the action is not by a button or spring-loaded retainer, but by simply rotating the bolt clockwise into a slot at the rear of the action. Open the bolt, pull it to the rear until it is in the correct location, rotate the bolt handle down,

and pull the bolt from the gun. One problem did appear with this system; several times, when I was shooting the gun from the bench, I worked the bolt to chamber another cartridge, and

NEW PRODUCTS Continued from Page C31 call use, this little item solves them all”. The slim, ruggedly designed Field Case fits neatly into your vest, holds 3 of your favorite diaphragm mouth calls, and separates the reeds on all of them. Even 4-reed calls. Then they added the Commando™ Hot Hen Mouth Call. With a super raspy sound, this triple reed call makes great

clucks, cutts, and flydown cackles. Plus it’s effortless to use. PHOTO COURTESY OF DIAPHRESH

But making a good idea into a great one is what innovation is all about. So they decided to throw in the Commando™ Hot Hen Mouth Call for FREE. Available now, buy a Diaphresh™ System and receive a FREE Commando™ Hot Hen Mouth Call. To purchase online and see their complete line of products including their combination Pro Pack Series, visit w w w . d i a p h r e s h . c o m or www.commandthewild.com.

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as I pushed the bolt forward, it dropped accidentally into the bolt release slot rather than pushing another round into the chamber. I don’t want the bolt released until I decide to release it. I want it sliding forward and backward as smoothly as possible, without binding. This needs to be changed, since it could happen when the buck or bull of a lifetime is in your sights—or worse, when that bear is about to start chewing on your bootlaces. Additionally, when I tried to put one of my slings (equipped with Uncle Mike’s quick-release sling swivels) on the gun, the swivels would not go into the studs. The problem turned out to be that the studs were too thick, and the gap between the swivel pin and the point where the spring-loaded closure plate is attached was too small. There is no way that this was tested or it would have been obvious. I tried several different sling and swivel combinations and none would fit. Consequently, the gun went slingless. Other than those things, the gun is quite well put together. I especially like the short bolt-lift and the visible cocking indicator. The Remington-type safety has two safe positions, one where the trigger is disengaged but the bolt is free (which allows clearing the gun with the safety engaged), and one where the bolt is locked. This seems like a very good system, and I like the concept. The recoil pad is thick and soft, with a non-slip finish. Stock-to-metal fit could be better, but is properly fitted in the places that matter. Mechanically, the i-Bolt is a rugged gun, using a push-feed action. The bolt is big and solid, with a Sako-style extractor inset into the side of the bolt head, and a Remingtontype plunger ejector. The three locking lugs on the head of the bolt make for a stiff, solid action that should give long service and good accuracy. The barrel, made by Thompson/Center, is 23 inches long and has a 1-in-10 twist. Three-shot groups with various ammunition, including handloads, averaged about 2 inches. Now, understand that this is an average. This gun appeared to like some loads and not others. It loved 180-grain Trophy Bonded Bear Claws, but hated 165-grain Hornady InterLock soft points. It liked 165-grain Nosler Partitions, but not 165grain Hornady SST InterBonds. Groups ran from the smallest of 1.31 inches to the

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largest of 2.9 inches. The gun shot 180grain Bear Claws best (that was the 1.31inch group), averaging less than 1.5 inches. With the 165-grain Nosler Partitions, it averaged just over 1.6 inches. Either of those fine bullets will do about anything you can reasonably ask a .30-06 to do. The model I tested is the i-Bolt. Overall, I think this is a good gun, especially for the modest price. I expect if you buy one, it will give you long and satisfactory service. My downside factors are all rather minor— except for the bolt release problem, which really needs to be remedied—and are outweighed by the gun’s positive attributes. I would therefore recommend this gun for the average deer hunter searching for a good, moderately priced rifle.

STOP USING YOUR RIFLE Any unintended discharge of a firearm has the potential for causing injury, and we ask that you stop using your rifle until we have an opportunity to inspect the bolt to make certain that there is no condition, which will allow the striker to disengage. To facilitate the inspection and repair, if necessary, of your rifle bolt, please contact Smith & Wesson’s customer service department to receive instructions and a call tag for the return of your bolt to Smith & Wesson When you return your bolt to Smith & Wesson, be sure to attach the completed information card received from Smith & Wesson, so that your bolt can be inspected and repaired, and returned to you as quickly and efficiently as possible. When your rifle bolt is returned, you should note a punch dot on the handle of the bolt. This punch dot is confirmation that your bolt has been inspected and is safe to use.

RECALL NOTICE Smith & Wesson has identified a condition that may exist with the bolt supplied with some i-Bolt rifles that would allow the striker to become disengaged from its locking tabs during cycling of the bolt, allowing the rifle to fire without the trigger being pulled. In the interest of consumer safety, we are initiating this recall to allow for the prompt inspection and, if necessary, the repair and replacement of each bolt. This recall applies to the bolts of all iBolt rifles manufactured by Smith & Wesson prior to December 1, 2008.

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It Does Not Taste Like Chicken, But... NAKE!” The word cut through the night like a laser, illuminating something I already knew: The only thing worse than seeing a diamondback in close quarters is not seeing a diamondback in close quarters. Few things get the adrenaline pumping more quickly than someone shouting that ominous word at the top of their lungs after the sun goes down. Several of us were trailing a large doe my dad shot on American Rodsmiths owner Robert Scherer’s beautiful Brush Country ranch when the spooky discovery was made. I ran quickly over to Nick Dinet, who found the snake slowly slithering through the

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Chester holds the trophy rattler he killed while hunting with Robert Scherer of American Rodsmiths (right).

by Chester Moore grass. Considering we had to continue searching the area for the deer, I felt it safer to dispose of the snake with my Glock instead of risking one of us again intercepting it later. Plus, fried rattlesnake is a rare delicacy in the Moore household. The serpent had a girth of 11 inches and the hide, once mounted on a board (and not even stretched), was right at 7 feet minus the head. It is now prominently displayed in my office on a large black velvet-covered board, garnering “oohs” and “aahs” from visitors. It was a truly massive rattler and one of several seen on this ranch during the 2008C34

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2009 hunting season. “We’ve been seeing more snakes than normal this year,” Scherer said. “Every time it gets cold and then warms right back up, the snakes come out, so hunters down in this part of the state should watch out. The snakes are on the move.” On the same trip, I saw a huge Texas indigo snake—or at least part of it crossing a sendero. Some of the body was already in the brush by the time I caught a glimpse, and at least six feet remained within my F i s h

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view. (TF&G editor-in-chief Zaidle once captured an 8-1/2-foot indigo in the same area.) Indigos are a protected species in Texas, and the archenemy of the rattlesnake. I mentioned rattlesnake meat is a rare delicacy in the Moore household, and that is the truth. We like the meat, which is actually quite tasty—but does it taste like chicken? To me, it does not actually taste like fowl, but has a similar texture. Rattlesnake frankly tastes like, well, rattlesnake, and is quite good if you can get past the idea the PHOTO COURTESY OF CHESTER MOORE


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Special Hunting Section creature used to slither on the ground and carried enough venom to wipe out a small family. (Zaidle says rattlesnake tastes like frog legs—which most people say tastes like chicken.) Once the head is off the snake, there is no danger of venom contamination of any kind. The serpents are easy to clean, with the skin coming off quickly to reveal beautiful white meat. We like to chicken-fry it, but some prefer grilling, and I have even heard of rattlesnake gumbo, which even to my exotic tastes does not sound so good. A number of edible creatures bear misconceptions about their table qualities, and feral hog is one of them. Some hunters refuse to eat a boar, saying the meat too strongly flavored to be palatable. In my experience, the meat is fine as long as you handle it correctly, getting it on ice or in a meat locker in short order, and being very cautious to not let hair touch the meat. Alligator garfish is something else that tastes great, but has a very bad image problem. How could something so ugly taste good? Isn’t the meat poisonous? The meat

Trophy Fever is not poisonous but the eggs (roe) are, so if you are planning to make gar caviar, think otherwise. Gar meat is white and has a texture similar to shark, which many coastal residents agree is some of the finest of all meats. Some have asked if there is anything I will not eat. I will never eat two particular animals unless we have some sort of catastrophe, like a nuclear holocaust or a giant meteor crashing into Earth. You know— something that wipes out the world’s food supply. Those animals are opossums and armadillos. When I was a kid, I saw opossum meat and it just looked awful. The person preparing it even admitted it was a bit “greasy,” which caused me to question why they did not simply go buy a burger. Armadillos are a different story altogether. A study conducted by Dr. Richard Truman with the Division of National Hansen’s Disease Programs in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, determined that one in six armadillos found in Texas and Louisiana coastal marshes carry leprosy. The study reported the disease might be

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completely absent among animals found in better-drained areas, but in coastal populations, it is quite common, with some areas showing up to 30 percent infection rates. The National Hansen’s Disease Registry shows that about a third of all leprosy patients had contact with armadillos. The study also details that two case-control studies comparing the armadillo contact history reported by U.S. leprosy patients presenting from areas known to harbor either high or low rates of armadillo leprosy, “failed to show that direct contact with armadillos was an important risk factor for infection.” In other words, the scientific jury is still out on just how serious a threat armadilloto-human leprosy transmission is, but there are obviously indicators. In my opinion, it does not take a genius to figure out very few people eat armadillos, so if there is a high ratio of armadillo contact to leprosy cases, I will forever pass on the Texas icon if served at table. Give me rattlesnake any day of the week. Despite their reputations, at least they do not carry biblical plaques.

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Hunter Kills 27-point… Doe! LAY CENTER, KANSAS, HUNTER MIKE SMITH killed this 27-point doe in December 2008. A Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks spokesman said the department hears of one or two a year. “Female deer periodically will produce

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antlers,” said Lloyd Fox, big game program coordinator for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. “We see it once or twice every year in the state, out of 75,000 deer harvested by hunters.” Smith began hunting at age 14, when his mother bought him a bow. However, he was

using a .25-06 rifle when he saw the doe from his tree stand 100 yards away. The doe ran about 75 yards after the shot. “I’ve never shot a non-typical,” Smith said without irony.

TROPHY FEVER PHOTOS

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BUCK—MONTGOMERY COUNTY, TEXAS

BUCK—MONTGOMERY COUNTY, TEXAS

Kyle Jeffreys, 12 years old, bagged this 7-point deer in southwest Montgomery County, Texas. The deer’s spread was 22 inches wide. Kyle’s outfitter was his dad, David Jeffreys.

Korey Jeffreys, age 12, shows off an 8-point deer with a 16-inch spread, taken in Montgomery County. Outfitter was his dad, David Jeffreys.

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Examining the Portable Blind HE PORTABLE BLIND—IS IT A GOOD THING, or overrated in the hunting world? These are some of the questions that have haunted outdoorsmen ever since the pop-up blind was invented. We have all watched the outdoor TV shows that advertise and use these blinds, and most have success with them. I have used them, and must say that they are an undeniable asset for some types of outdoor activities. I have found through trial and error, however, that not all hunting situations are suited to pop-up blinds. Last year, I wrote that for hunting turkey with a bow, these blinds are necessary. For some reason, the birds do not see the big square box in the field, and if they do, pay absolutely no attention to it. This allows the bowhunter to get a very close shot, ending an exciting hunt. Quality ground blinds by companies like Ameristep and Double Bull are flat out awesome for turkey. As of this writing, I have had no success at all hunting whitetails with a pop- up blind, and examined my setup to determine why. On the plus side, these blinds can be set up just about anywhere you choose. They can be tucked up amongst the thickest cover you can find, or just placed in the middle of a field. I would guess that if it were placed in position well in advance of whatever season you hunt, success would not be far

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behind. Some have 360-degree shooting capability, while others have multiple windows from which to shoot. Both have proven to work and work well. Another valuable asset while using this type of blind is the fact that you can film your hunt undetected. I like to bring my own camera operator, but it is not necessary. A small tripod for your video camera works just as well. Movement while in the blind is hidden from the game you are pursuing. This gives you plenty of time to get you and your camera in position for a hunt to remember for years after you leave the field. I have found that it is a great way to introduce a

For some reason, the birds do not see the big square box in the field, and if they do, pay no attention to it.

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child to the outdoor world. While in the blind, they can feel secure near you and move around a bit, as they learn what hunting is all about. For hunters that experience vertigo or just cannot hunt from a tree stand, the portable ground blind is a welcome answer to stay concealed in the woods. To hunt with a bow means that you have to do multiple tasks at the same time, and are totally comfortable while performing these tasks. If your heart is racing because you are nervous being up in the air, your shot will never be true. On the con side, you have to carry a portable blind to your hunting spot. More often than not, these hunting areas are not F i s h

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very close by. It could very well be 3/4 to a mile away from your vehicle. You need to bring a seat of some sort with you as well. Now, consider the weight of the blind itself, the seat, the backpack, the bow or other weapon of choice, and I guarantee that it will not be an easy task. We do hunt to have fun, and lugging a metaphorical ton of equipment is not lot of fun. Even if you set up pre-season and leave the blind there, if a thief does not get it, high winds will. I tied my portable blind to small trees in the woods and found that the wind caved my support bars in and snapped two of them. We all have heard that the woods are deer’s living room, and if we bring an extra couch in, they are going to see it. No matter what I did to hide my blind, the deer stared at it as soon as they stretched their heads into the clearing. I had so many leafy branches on it, it looked like a rain forest. Although I felt it was hidden well, the deer still saw that they had a new couch. I should mention that the hogs were not impressed with my portable blind, either. Even with their limited eyesight, hogs still knew something was not right. Does this mean pop-up blinds never work for deer or hogs? Of course not, but so far, they have not worked for me. Overall, I see these blinds as a good thing. As with anything, however, it has some good points and some bad. However, anything that helps introduce a child to the great outdoors gets my vote. I will get my deer and hogs with other methods. Editor’s Note: For more on pop-up blinds, see the “Hunt like a Ninja” feature elsewhere in this issue.

E-mail Lou Marullo at lmarullo@fishgame.com.


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ZipVac: Keeping Game Fresh OST SERIOUS SPORTSMEN APPRECIATE the advantages of vacuum packaging (less freezer burn, extended storage time, more freshness). I have been vacuum packing the bounty from fishing and hunting trips for many years and was excited when I received an invitation to evaluate the new ZipVac system.

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by Greg Berlocher When my ZipVac arrived, I was a bit surprised how small the box was. My existing vacuum packaging unit has a fairly large form factor, and the ZipVac packaging was a fraction the size and weight of my unit. Unpacking the contents, I discovered a bundle of plastic bags and two air pumps. The plastic bags are three layers of plastic that feature a zip-style opening. A circular purge valve on the side of the bag vents air trapped inside the bag. The bags are so tough they can be dropped into boiling water to warm pre-prepared foods on camping trips. The first pump is a small battery-operated handheld, shaped like a pistol grip. A C40

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110-volt electrical plug folds out of one end of the handle to charge the battery; a removable round nozzle adorned the other end. The nozzle plugs onto the purge valve on the plastic bags and evacuates the air. The battery holds enough power to seal up to 150 bags. The nozzle can be removed for cleaning. The second pump uses a syringe-like plunger to create suction. The manual pump is equipped with the same type nozzle as the electric version. To use the system, open a bag, fill it with your favorite outdoor harvest, pinch the top shut, and then hook up one of the pumps to the purge valve. A few seconds later, most of the air is evacuated. Very simple. The ZipVac system has a number of advantages. The quart- and gallon-size bags are standard sizes, making is easy to judge how much you can put inside. There are also rectangular fillet bags for fish. The ZipVac system allows you to choose how much air you wish to remove from a bag. This is quite useful if you are trying to package delicate foods such as sandwiches. My existing unit relies on a vacuum sensor, and I can’t turn the pump off until it decides it is finished, leaving sandwiches looking as if they were in an accident with a steamroller. The purge valves on ZipVac bags twist open and shut, eliminating the need for a thermal heat-sealing element in the pump. F i s h

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Since the sides of a bag are not melted together with heat, they are reusable, making them much more affordable than single-use bags. The battery-operated pump holds a charge for quite a while, but there will always be situations when you forget to charge it. The manual pump allows sportsmen to use the ZipVac system in the field—a very handy feature, as many hunting camps do not have commercial power or generators. In addition to food storage, you can use ZipVac bags to keep matches, medicine, maps, ammunition, and clothing dry. Evacuating the air from a bag is a definite benefit when space is a premium, as inside a backpack. If I were designing the product, I would change one thing: in lieu of the foldout plug, I would substitute a detachable electric cord. Those who go afield occasionally rather than regularly will probably forget to charge the handheld unit before a trip. You either have to wait for the unit to charge, or and move the filled bags up to the pump while it is plugged into the wall. Most countertops in the U.S. are 24-inches wide; adding a detachable 12-inch electric cord to the pump would allow you to work in the middle of the counter space rather than crowding up against the backsplash if your unit isn’t charged. The ZipVac is smaller, lighter, and easier to use than the thermal vacuum packaging system I have been using. Overall, I give the ZipVac system high marks for ease of use, good design, and cost effectiveness. I highly recommend it to all “consumptive” outdoorsmen. Contact: CTI Industries Corporation, 866-382-1707, www.zip-vac.com

Email Greg Berlocher at fishthis@fishgame.com PHOTOS COURTESY OF ZIPVAC


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What is “Enough Gun?” HE LAUDED WRITER ROBERT RUARK fathered many memorable sayings. The most memorable, which is also the title of one of his books, is probably “use enough gun.” Ruark was writing about hunting African game, but the rule still applies to hunting any game animal. We owe it to ourselves and the animals we hunt to use a gun of sufficient caliber and power to get the job done quickly and cleanly. That does not apply solely to the gun and caliber, but also to the type and design of bullets. When talking deer hunting, the discussion can get very hazy and convoluted. A caliber that is plenty for shooting 70-pound Hill Country does might be terribly underpowered for a North Texas corn-fed monster that might weigh close to 300 pounds. Likewise, a gun perfectly suited for hunting in East Texas thickets, where the average shot is less than 100 yards, might be singularly unsuited for deer hunting on South Texas senderos, or for mule deer in West Texas, where a shot might be halfway to tomorrow. So, the subject is not cut and dried, but a somewhat difficult mix of polar opposites. We still vainly try to determine what gun is best suited as an “all-around” tool for deer hunting; it is a lost cause, but it does make for a lively discussion around the campfire. The best we can do is make educated attempts at determining what is minimal, optimal, and overkill. First, let’s get overkill out of the way. There is never, ever, a valid reason to use any gun more powerful than a .300 mag-

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num on white-tailed deer. If you want to use an elephant gun on Bambi, be my guest, but don’t try to rationalize it and justify it to me. Just admit that it is how you get your kicks and let it go at that. Almost never is a magnum of any kind needed to hunt deer. Magnums do give the shooter a bit of an edge at extreme ranges, but most of us shouldn’t be shooting that far, anyway. Out to reasonable hunting distances, say, 300 yards or a bit more, the standard calibers from .25-06 on up work just as well, kick less, and destroy less meat. If you want to hunt deer with your .22caliber centerfire rifle, jump to it. It is legal in Texas, and I not going to tell you that you can’t do it. However, do not try to convince me that your .22/250 is just as good for deer as my .270, because you are wrong and nothing you say is going to change the facts. The .22s are intended as varmint calibers, period. With the right bullets, perfect bullet placement, and under controlled conditions, they will kill deer like Thor’s hammer. But, one slip anywhere along the line and you

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have a wounded deer. I know—I’ve been there. As a matter of cold, hard fact, the last deer I shot in the 2007 season was with a .223—and it got away wounded. We never found it. It was my fault. Had I used a bigger gun, I might have collected the deer. I was testing bullets made for deer, and the only way I know to do that is to use them on game. I don’t like it, but it’s part of my job description. That time, the deer paid the price. I will try this bullet again before I make any firm determinations of its capabilities, but I will be much more selective of the shots I take. If you are looking for an all-around gun, the best advice is buy one of the old standards, such as .30-06, .270, .280, or 7mm Remington Magnum. The 7mm Remington Magnum is smallest of the currently available magnums. A magnum in name only, I consider it a standard caliber, in the power range of the .30-06. By “magnum” I

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Outboard Troubleshooting 101 O YOU REMEMBER THE DAYS WHEN YOU could pop the cowl on your outboard and understand what you saw? The carburetor, fuel pumps, air filters, and spark plugs were like old friends, and you knew how to make them happy. Today, however, the puzzle of wires, hoses, and computer chips is overwhelming. If you want to fix a simple problem with a modern internal combustion engine, you need a laptop computer and an engineering degree...or do you. In reality, you can diagnose and fix the majority of on-the-water outboard problems with basic troubleshooting knowledge, simple tools, and opposable thumbs. Electrical problems are among the most common reasons we call the towboat. The motor will not turn over or it surges and misses. First, let’s assume you have a fully charged battery. If not, there truly is not much you can do short of calling for help. To determine if the battery is your problem, try tilting the outboard up and down with the electric trim switch. If it moves at the usual rate of speed, you know you have plenty of juice. But what if nothing happens when you turn the key? Yes, yes, I know you are an experienced boater and already made sure the throttle is in neutral, but do it again.

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Even if it looks right, shift into and out of gear once or twice, listen for the clicks, and be sure it is in neutral. You would be amazed at how often boaters are “rescued” with this simple fix. If that fails, try turning the key and holding it down while you jiggle that throttle again, as temperamental safety switches need to be finessed just so. Your next suspect should be the connections at the battery and at the starter. If you see any green or white crud, you have probably found the problem. Remove the wires, make sure the connections are perfectly clean by scrubbing them off with a wire brush, and tighten them back in place. If you get a crank but the motor will not catch and run, this could be the kill switch. Even if the lanyard clip is in place, the switch might prevent starting. This often happens when the switch is horizontal on top of the helm station, which allows water to pool on top of and eventually get into the switch, causing a short. Luckily, on most engines it is easy to disable the switch. Look for a black wire with a yellow stripe that leads to the ignition, and disconnect it. Try the key again. Fuel issues are another reason why outboards might fail to start, miss, or run intermittently. These problems can be tough to

solve on the spot, particularly if they relate to a complete absence of fuel. Even the best of us have run the tanks dry at one time or another. Remember that marine fuel gauges are notoriously unreliable, and always double-check your fuel supply before leaving the dock. If you cannot get the motor running and you know there is fuel in the tank, the first step is to make sure it is getting to the motor. The easiest way to do so is to look at the primer ball. If it is tightly sucked in and collapsed, you might have a blocked fuel vent not allowing air to displace the fuel leaving the tank. This is a common occurrence when running a small motor on a portable fuel cell, which has a thumbscrew type of vent. Boaters often close the vent after a day on the water, and then forget to re-open it on the next trip. If the primer ball is full in size but easy to squeeze and does not get hard as you pump it, then you probably have air getting into the system. The most common cause is a leaky fuel line, sucking in air or spurting fuel, or you might also have a bad connection at the tank or where the fuel line meets the outboard. Finally, check your filters and water separators. If these are clogged, that can also prevent fuel from getting to the motor. If you think you have water in the fuel on multi-tank boats but you do not have enough fuel in any one tank to get home on, try this trick: Partially open the valve between the tanks so the motors draw from one more than the other. You might find that one tank is problematic and the other is not, and you

GUNS & GEAR Continued from Page C41 mean the big .300s and such. Anything in this power range that fires a bullet of above about 110 grains at a velocity of above about 2800 feet per second is perfectly adequate for 99.9 percent of all deer huntC42

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ing—not just in Texas, but danged near anywhere. This argument is never going to be settled, and I’m glad. It would be deathly boring if we could say with certainty that one specific cartridge and rifle combination was the best. Our children’s great-grandF i s h

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children will argue which is better—a laser, phaser, or maser. And that is just as it should be.

E-mail Steve LaMascus at guns@fishgame.com.


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might discover that you can try different “mixes,” get it running, and head for home. Cooling systems are another part of your outboard that might be fixable on the water. Always keep your eye on the telltale, and make sure your water flow is adequate. If the telltale is not peeing yet the motor appears to be operating normally, you probably have some grit clogging the port. To open it up, thread heavy monofilament fishing line through the telltale and spin it around. This is enough to break most minor clogs free. If the telltale is not peeing and the temperature alarm starts ringing, you have a more serious problem. Luckily, a blocked intake, which is the most common cooling problem, is the easiest to fix. After shutting down, tilt the motor up and make sure the intakes are clear. An impeller gone bad is the next most common way to lose your cool. The best way to solve this problem is to avoid it by regularly changing the impeller and thoroughly flushing your outboard with freshwa-

You can fix the majority of on-the-water problems.

ter after every saltwater run. This keeps the flexible arms of the impeller in good condition. The temperature gauge is going berserk, and you are positive the cooling system is functioning just fine. If you have a directinjection two-stroke, check your oil pump and make sure it is feeding oil into the mix. The problem could also be a stuck thermostat. Sometimes you can pop them free, scrub off any grit that has them clogged, and get back on task. If you are unsure if this is the problem but can make it back to the dock, you can troubleshoot the thermostat back at home. Remove it from the engine and use a pair of tongs to hold it in a pot of water placed on the stove. Put a thermometer in the pot as well, and watch the temperature rise as you turn up the heat. If the thermostat does not open at the correct temperature (refer to your owner’s manual to find out what it is for your specific outboard),

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then you know it needs to be replaced. If it does open, something else is amiss. Vibrations are another cause for concern, and your prop usually holds the answer. Bent blades or large dings and chinks can cause the boat to shake hard enough to rattle your fillings. If you carry a file onboard, you can perform some emergency repairs by just filing down the offending sections of the propeller. It will not be perfect and you will probably have to live with a certain amount of vibration until returning to shore, but it should be less noticeable. Make sure you reduce speed and go home at a crawl if necessary to eliminate all that shaking. Run hard with excessive vibrations, and there is a good chance you will do serious damage to other parts of the boat or engine. Motor mounts are also surprisingly common culprits when this issue crops up. You would not think to check them often, but when excessive vibrations start shaking your boat apart, look at the motor mounting bolts and the mount itself. One telltale noise is a loud, single “crack” when you throttle up. It is the sound of the threads on the motor mount bolts, snapping across fiberglass as they are mashed through the holes. To fix this problem, simply make sure the nuts and washers are flush with fiberglass, and if anything has backed off, take a wrench to it. Mysterious sounds can also be alarming at times, and here is one troubleshooting trick you can use to identify problems that are tough to diagnose. When you hear a funny noise coming from the engine but you cannot isolate it, use a screwdriver as a stethoscope. Simply put the tip of the driver up against the different parts of the engine and put your ear next to the handle and the screwdriver will magnify the sounds, helping you to figure out exactly where they come from. Of course, this is a basic guide to outboard troubleshooting, and we have touched only on the issues you can address while on the water. However, when you are having trouble away from the dock, you will discover that 80 or 90 percent of the time, one of the problems mentioned above will be the reason. Now, you know how to fix them.

E-mail Lenny Rudow at boating@fishgame.com.

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Paddling Your Children

Chronicle for more than 50 years. He writes a delightful column, chronicling junkets to small towns and discussions with interesting people he meets. Hale is a master wordsmith with a gift for capturing the essence of any situation. His recount of a fishing trip with his children gave me to considerable pause, prompting reminiscences of times with my dad and my children. Hale wrote:

EVERAL WEEKS AGO, I WAS WAIST-DEEP IN Easy Going, an anthology of Leon Hale’s newspaper columns, originally printed back in 1983. Hale, the grand old man of Houston newspapers, has written for both the Houston Post and Houston

The best time I spent fishing was with my kids. I loved to put them in the boat and let one of them run it and I would sit up in front and when the motor was shut down, I’d be a human troll motor. Paddle them, quietly, to likely places. Swing the boat so a cast could

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be made up into a still pool. I loved doing that. They thought it was strange. Why do you want to paddle for us all the time? Don’t you want to fish? Had you rather paddle than fish? But I knew something they didn’t— that in a short time, such a very short time, they would be gone, and gone forever, and I would never have them again, not in that special way that I had them all to myself in that little boat, and I was right, I never have. You can never paddle for them again, not really, after they leave. Hale’s words resonated deeply within me. Wonderful memories came flooding back of times I spent with my dad in our 10-


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foot johnboat, him paddling me slowly around Pine Lake, encouraging me as I made awkward motions attempting to cast flies with a buggy whip, fiberglass fly rod. Dad rarely paddled with both hands, preferring to scull with one arm draped over the end of the boat, moving the paddle in a repetitive figure-eight pattern. The gentle push of the paddle nudged the boat along ever so slowly, allowing us to cast repeatedly to toppled trees sulking in the shallows, and other strategic targets.

You can never paddle for them again, not really, after they leave.

Sculling left his other arm free to cast flies, dropping them repeatedly within a foot of the sunken treetops or the emerald green reeds that lined the bank. Periodically, he would set the hook on a bull bream or little bass, setting the paddle down in one smooth motion to begin stripping in fly line. I can still hear him chuckling to himself over the bent rod: “Well, what do we have here?” The size of the fish was never important, nor was missed strikes. My family had a history of fishing from small boats, many rented, all aluminum. Single-bladed paddles were the propulsion system of choice on the vast majority of our outings—no oil to mix, no batteries to hoist, no noise. Indeed, life was simple, and so were the lessons. My two sons grew up much more quickly than I wanted. It seems like yesterday that my youngest wasn’t strong enough to paddle his kayak across Fence Lake, his forward progress halted by a stiff coastal breeze. The man-child now stands 6-foot-4, and tips the scales at 270 pounds. College scouts in need of offensive linemen are starting to show up at football practice. Trust me when I tell you that size-16 wading booties are hard to find. Some of my most cherished childhood memories came from a 10-foot hole in the

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water, with Dad at one end and me at the other. Likewise, as a parent, I have come to prize those special times when one son or the other and I were alone together in a kayak or canoe. Fishing rods were always present, but the catch wasn’t as important as the perspective. Canoes, tandem kayaks, and johnboats are great for building family bonds. Gasoline and electric motors certainly have their place, but they add a level of complexity to an outing. Paddles keep things simple.

It is hard to decide whether paddling a youngster around for several hours is more rewarding for parent or child. Either way, you create memories that last a lifetime. Hale was right when he said you can’t paddle your kids around anymore once they grow up. You don’t know how much I miss it.

Email Greg Berlocher at kayak@fishgame.com.


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Loops and Hooks OOPS AND HOOKS IS AN UNDERUSED combination in our offshore, inshore, and bay fishing. The basis is the surgeon’s loop, which is easy to tie, and has a knot strength somewhere around 97 percent of the mono to which it is tied. The surgeon’s loop forms after doubling back the end of your mono and tying a double overhand knot in both strands, positioned so that it gives the loop length of choice. As with any mono knot, moisten with saliva before pulling tight. The path you take through the hook eye with this loop is very important. Always pass the loop through from the bend side of the hook. When looped around the shank as shown in the illustration, a number of good things happen as the line comes tight at the strike. With a big fish pulling on the hook and your line coming tight against your rod’s upsweep and reel drag, the loop pushes the eye down and rotates the hook point for faster penetration. This rotation occurs with J-style or circle hooks. The hook point-loading angle of pull will definitely increase your strike-to-hookup percentage. See the illustration for a look at how the hook point angle changes in relation to line pull with the loop through from the bend side and from the backside. Multiple wraps of mono around the hook shank are shown in the illustration. This has the effect of knotting the mono on the shank and against the hook eye. All of the looped mono views in the illustration are before tightening, after passing the loop through the hook eye from the bend side. Make the first twist in the loop and pass the loop over the bend side of the hook.

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Twist it again and pass the loop back over the hook bend. Twist it again and pass it over the bend for the last time. Now, snug the wraps a bit, keeping an even pull on both strands of the loop. The wraps should now look like those shown enlarged in the illustration. Carefully tighten after lubricating. You will end up with a secure, pointrotating connection that has a safety factor built in. Should one strand of the loop break or be cut during the fight, the knotted wraps will hold and the fight can continue on the single mono strand. Note in the illustration that the first mono “X” on the shank has the mono strand at the top of the “X,” passing through the eye on the gap side of the eye. When tightened, this will keep that mono strand away from this gap area. This is not a problem with heavy mono, but with lighter stuff, it could come into play. The top of the illustration shows a Carolina rig using a stop knot ahead of the dulled egg weight, a 6- to 8-turn Uni-Knot. F i s h

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I use white cotton string for this stop knot; at times, camouflaging it using a blue MarksA-Lot to reduce the flash of white. I recently found another material that does a better job: blue knitting yarn, which is inexpensive and works perfectly. Free-lined, this rig works well with an assortment of baits on just about anything near the surface to however far down the bait choice will take it. From the near surface to the bottom, on all the species that live there, except for the toothy ones that require luck to be on your side, these mono loop-tohook rigging variations will take them all. They are not magic bullets, just simple rigging that works. If you have not put these loop and hook combinations in your tackle package, do it before your next outing.

E-mail Patrick Lemire at saltrigs@fishgame.com.

ILLUSTRATION BY PATRICK LEMIRE


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Swimming Worm

have “borrowed” a few from him from time to time, and they are outstanding when

monofilament leader (as always, the leader should be made from lighter line than your

T HAS OFTEN BEEN SAID THAT THOSE OF US who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Sometimes, that’s not really a bad thing. Those of us who have not been around for over a half-century have never known life without plastic worms in a rainbow of colors—some that resemble nothing in nature—but our fathers and grandfathers probably still recall the first time they walked into a bait shop and saw a worm wrapped in plastic rather than in a cup of dirt. Those first worms looked nothing like what we have today; they were roughly worm-colored instead of something called “Atomic Chicken.” Many came pre-rigged with multiple hooks, beads, and in-line spinners. The pre-rigged worms were used to swim the bait through shallow water instead of probing structure, and are all but extinct today with the advent of Texas, Carolina, and drop-shot rigs, but there are still instances where a swimming worm is more effective than just about anything in the water. Instead of adding more weight to your tackle bag by purchasing pre-rigged worms (if you can find them), you can make a few with items you already own. I am a firm believer that big baits catch big fish, and a fan of oversized worms. This is especially true when using a swimming worm because, in my mind, the swimmer more closely resembles a snake than a worm. Once upon a time, Crème (the original worm manufacturer) marketed an enormous worm called the Crème Giant. These are no longer available, but a friend made a mold of one of the few he had remaining, and now he occasionally pours them for himself. I

rigged to swim. Find the biggest worm you can (more lure manufacturers are starting to offer them) for your swimming rig. When done right, a swimming worm doesn’t just swim straight back to you, but can be made to spin, dart, and make other movements that can tangle your line. So, the first part of a swimming rig is a barrel swivel that attaches to your main line. On the other side of the swivel, attach a short

main line). I prefer a shorter leader, which helps in casting accuracy, but anything up to 18 inches should work just fine. On the end of this first leader (yes first; we’ll get to the second one in a minute), tie a 3/0 worm hook. Here is where the second leader comes in. To the eye of this first hook, tie another short leader (3-6 inches long)

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Green Pumpkin with a chartreuse tail, sprayed with Jack’s Juice crawfish scent. Make fan casts to secondary points in creeks or spawning flats. This allows you to cover an area quickly and continue moving until you find fish. My next choice is a spinnerbait. I like the Firetiger XPS Laser Eye in 1/2- to 3/4ounce with nickel and gold combination blades in big sizes, like a No. 5 or 6 willowleaf. I always slow-roll these baits around the

Big is Better “B

IG IS BETTER” IS A VERY POPULAR saying, and it has relevance in the world of bass fishing. This month, big bass are in shallow water on a big feeding binge, gladly taking big baits. You can draw a line 40 feet off the bank and follow the contour with your Raymarine DS600X, staying in 10 feet of water or less, and you will be in the right zone. This eliminates 95 percent of the surface water, putting the odds greatly in your favor. I prefer starting out with a Carolina rig, which allows you to cover a lot of water. I use a 7-foot Extreme Woo Daves XTR 70 MHT cam-lock extendable butt rod, specially made for Carolina rigging. I rig it with a 7.1 gear ratio Extreme bait-cast reel, Bass Pro Shops 17-pound fluorocarbon line, 3/4ounce Lindy No-Snagg Rattlin’ weight, and a 2/0 or 3/0 Mustad Big Bite hook. I finish this off with an 8-inch Zoom lizard in

I prefer starting out with a Carolina rig, which allows you to cover a lot of water.

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clumps or over the top of thicker grass. Next, I look for cover such as buck brush and laydowns, again slow-rolling around the cover. The key to catching big bass with a spinner is fishing it slow. Big bass are not going to chase fast-moving bait, so if you have problems, add a Zoom Fat Albert grub as a trailer to help slow your bait.

Big crankbaits are necessary in March, and a shallow to medium runner is all you need. I use Bagley’s Balsa B with chartreuse or red on it, a Bass Pro Shops Nitro shallow crank, and XPS Knocker Shad in chrome/blue. Again, you need to fish these lures slowly with a lot of stop and go retrieves or twitching, keeping the bait in a confined area as long as possible. I fish these lures on a medium-light rod for the best action. I always put Mustad triple grip hooks on crankbaits. You are playing second fiddle with any other hook on your crankbait. I hear more stories from anglers losing bass on crankbaits than anything else. Last but not least, is a bunch of jigs in black/blue and Green Pumpkin colors. I am looking for big bass and I using bulky jigs. This is not the time for finesse jigs, so I want a big bulky one falling down in front of Big Mamma. Jigs are so good because you can put them right in the middle of the heaviest cover, and fish them slowly to accurately imitate a crawfish, a favorite spring food of bass. A 1/2-ounce jig is my No. 1 choice, and I am going to have the biggest chunk that Zoom makes as a trailer. Good luck this spring with the big bass, and remember two things: Fish slowly for the big bite, and fish big lures.

FRESHWATER BAITS & RIGS Continued from Page C47 and attach another worm hook, this time using a 1/0. Shorter worms require short leaders, while long worms can handle a long second leader. There are a couple ways to attach the worm to the hooks, depending on the type of water you are fishing. In open water with very little danger of snagging grass or brush, you can simply run the first hook through the nose of the worm a few inches C48

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before bringing it back out so that the hook is exposed. Repeat this step with the second hook farther down the body of the worm. If you are fishing grass or brush, then rig the hooks as you would on a Texas rig, with the tip pushed back into the worm so that it will not snag. The amount of action imparted on the worm has less to do with your rod tip and more to do with the amount of worm you have between the first and second hooks. If you want the bait to just move slightly, rig F i s h

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it straight. If you want it to roll more, then rig the second hook farther back in the body to put a slight bend in the worm. While the swimming worm is typically a shallow water rig, it can also be used to probe a few feet deep. To get it down deeper, just crimp a split shot on the first leader a few inches below the barrel swivel. E-mail Paul Bradshaw at freshrigs@fishgame.com.


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Joey Nania Takes Jr. Bassmaster OEY “DA FISH” NANIA, AGE 17, “THE HAPPIEST angler on Earth,” captured his second Junior Bassmaster World Championship, winning the 2008 Junior Bassmaster Championships held on Geary County State Lake, Kansas. Joey and five other highly skilled divisional champions from the U.S. and Canada battled temperatures in the low 30s at launch time. Joey towed his Nitro Z7 from Action Marine Northwest 1500 miles to Kansas with his father so he could pre-fish Geary, a move that paid off. The first fish of the day came early in the morning on a Stanley jig coupled with a Team All-Star rod and Pflueger Summit reel. Unfortunately, it measured 1/8-inch short of the 15-inch limit. “I must have measured that fish 10 times just trying to get the tail to touch, but it was just that short,” he said. Since the bite was slow, Joey picked up his go-to equipment—an All Star 7-foot rod with a Pflueger President reel, 10-pound McCoy Mean Green mono, and a Spro Little John crankbait, and set out to crank up a win with a reaction bite. After another two hours of cranking the rocky bottom of Geary, the first of his two-fish legal hit—a beautiful 2-pound, 1-ounce, smallmouth. “I heard there were supposed to be smallies in here, but didn’t see one the entire time I pre-fished,” Joey said. “This one surprised me as it swiped at my crankbait. It was such a soft bite, I had to gradually slide it into the boat.”

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After that, the fishing in the Northwest under got even tougher, with extreme conditions. 20-mile-per-hour winds Joey’s ability to stay and clouds. After anothfocused brought success er three hours of crankin the form of two fish for ing, Joey nailed a 2a total weight of 4 pound largemouth. pounds, 1 ounce to take “I’ve been in these sitthe lead. With two uations before, so I knew anglers left to weigh in, that when the bite is Keith Alan, BASS tough, you just have to Tournament master of keep with it, make a lot ceremonies, put Joey on of casts, cover water, and the proverbial hotseat on work every cast as carethe BASS Elite stage. fully as possible,” Joey The final two anglers said. “The largie hit my came to the scales withSpro Little John out any fish for their crankbait with just 10 efforts. Joey’s bag netted minutes left in the comhim the tournament win Joey Nania wins his second Junior petition. I have to admit, for a $5000 college Bassmaster World Championship. I yelled pretty loud after scholarship as well as the that one. I was really pleased with my equip- Purolator Big Fish Award, and an addiment. The Pflueger reels worked flawlessly tional $1000 scholarship. Triton, Mercury, all day long in some pretty cold weather. All and Lowrance sweetened the pot by awardI had to do was think about fishing, stay ing a fully-rigged aluminum bass boat valfocused on that, and ignore my frozen fin- ued at over $8000. gers. Thanks to McCoy Mean Green line, Special thanks to all Joey’s sponsors, backlashes were almost non-existent. That is including American Family Insurance, Live a real advantage in cold weather, because Line Baits, Stanley Lures, Spro, Gamakatpicking out a bird’s nest is almost impossible su, Pflueger, All-Star, Action Marine, with frozen fingers.” Nitro, and McCoy Line. Joey is no stranger to cold weather fishing in many early and late season tournaments

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A PAIR OF ANGLERS FIND SPECKLED TROUT DEVOURING THOUSANDS OF SIX-INCH WORMS IN MATAGORDA BAY

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ishing is full of mystery. The influences of tide, moon, and seasonal patterns on fishing are certainly causes for bewilderment. For seasoned anglers, some of these mysteries might eventually unravel. But with more time spent on the water, new experiences and discoveries might actually create more area of uncertainty. Lake Jackson natives, Steven Harlan and his father, Billy “Tinker”

TF&G FIRST Harlan, experienced a rare occurrence last February. C50

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During a wintry evening, the duo encountered an enormous swarm of worms—thousands of them—being devoured by speckled trout. The two fishermen had struggled all afternoon to locate a solid big trout bite on East Matagorda Bay’s south shoreline. Daylight was quickly running out as their

by Kyle Tomek boat headed back to the harbor. Steven spotted movement on a nearby shoreline; a dozen seagulls swooped and dive-bombed the water tight to the shoreline. He was confident they were feeding on baitfish fleeing from speckled trout beneath. They chose to wade in order to not disrupt the shallow feeders. “The water was very nervous and we PHOTO BY KYLE TOMEK


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could actually see the trout surfacing. They were very active,” Steven said. He and his father orchestrated an attack on the fish by spreading apart and surrounding the gulls. Upon stringing the first fish, Tinker said, “Are you seeing all of these worms?” For the first time, Steven noticed 4- to 6-inch worms swarming at their waists. The worms frantically darted and gyrated in all directions, while getting inhaled by energetic fish. “I put my hand in the water and easily grabbed a handful,” Steven said. “The worms were so thick and so active on the surface, it sounded as if it was raining.” The speckled trout had a buffet of squirmy worms to choose from, but Steven and his father continued to catch fat fish on lures. The predators gradually became selective as night fell, and the fish began keying on smell. “Topwaters and normal soft plastics were no longer considered by the trout,” Steven said. “A small, red, soft plastic was the only lure that would draw a strike.” Of the seven fish they cleaned that evening, every fish had a belly full of worms.

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Dr. Greg Stunz, Marine Biology Professor at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, was the first to comment on what Steven and Tinker

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encountered: “Based on the worms’ behavior and pictures, I would say they were nereid worms. Commonly known as cinder

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Although “cinder worms” are common, Texas coastal anglers rarely see them due to their nocturnal hatches and mating behavior.

Christi benthic ecologist, Dr. Kim Withers, the name most commonly used for the spe-

PHOTO BY KYLE TOMEK

worms; they are actually common.” Stunz said the cinder worms’ frenzied behavior was a mating ritual: “This typical behavior happens at night under certain conditions, so people don’t actually see it occurring.” According to Texas A&M-Corpus

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cialized reproductive stage is “epitoky,” a mode of reproduction unique to polychaete worms (characterized by fleshy paired appendages tipped with bristles on each body segment) in which the worm undergoes a partial or entire transition into a pelagic, sexually reproductive form. “I have seen these worms several times, but always at night,” said Baffin Bay angler Paul Cravey. “I have other friends who have seen them in other bays, including Galveston.” Cravey’s first time to see the worms in Baffin Bay was by accident during an outing when he shined his spotlight into the water. He believes that few people know of the worms’ existence in Baffin due to very few anglers regularly using lights or lighted piers. “I have only seen the swarms two or three times over the years,” Cravey said. “They were 3-4 inches long and were pink/red in the middle with white tips of about 1/2- to 3/4-inch long on the ends. Trout seem to like them.” The red and white worms appear in the spring for about two to three weeks. Cravey C52

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is confident the worms are responsible for red and white soft plastic lures working so well in springtime. Kayak angler Vincent Rinando has similar experiences with the worms in West Galveston Bay: “If you fish West Bay at night around pier lights, you’ll see them occasionally, but not in the same quantities as you will in spring. Spring is when the biggest swarms seem to occur. I’ve only run into them at night under pier lights, and occasionally in very clear water at San Luis Pass. Trout actively feed on them in the lights.” Rinando has caught specks within the swarms on soft plastics, but favors a fly: “A pink and yellow combo speck rig works effectively in them, but nothing beats a pink fly.” Although accounts along the Texas coast are rather scarce, fishing swarms of cinder worms is very common along the East Coast and New England States. Coastal fly-fishermen have the patterns mapped out like clockwork, and fly shops carry an arsenal of small red worm imitations that are dynamite for striped bass—an indication of how

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prevalent the swarms are along the Atlantic Coast. Similarities arise when comparing Steve and Tinker’s trip to East Coast experiences. A New England article describes information about the worm swarms: “The new and full moon periods see lower tidal ranges, which expose mud flats where the worms live. When the worms begin to swarm, you will find them along the shorelines in upper estuaries, in shallow rivers, shallow coves, in creeks, and on tidal flats where soft mud

bottoms exist. Over the grassier bottoms, swarms tend to be less intense, or simply don’t happen at all.” The Harlans’ trip took place just three days after a full moon and above a soft mud bottom. Normally, these swarms form at the same time and same place, year after year. You can bet that Steven Harlan and his father will go back to see if the theory holds true.


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Post-Golden Algae Recovery ORTH TEXAS ANGLERS ARE NOT READY TO uncross their fingers yet, but lakes Possum Kingdom, Granbury, Whitney, and many of the 23 other water bodies that have suffered golden algae-related fish kills since 2001 are on a sharp rebound. Healthy populations of largemouth bass, striped bass, catfishes, and crappie are back on most of those lakes, as are many of the anglers who abandoned the waters after severe fish kills crippled the fisheries in 2001 and 2003 Golden algae were relatively unknown in North America prior to 1986, the year it was discovered in the Pecos River below Red Bluff Reservoir in West Texas. It had been found prior to the Pecos River discovery, however, in other countries including Denmark, Britain, South Africa, Scotland, and Italy. Golden algae’s scientific name is Prymnesium parvum, a microscopic organism (about 3000 to the inch) that not only utilizes sunlight as a source of energy through photosynthesis like most other algae, but also is capable of consuming other material. When a golden algae “bloom” (rapid population explosion) occurs, the cells release toxins that affect fish by causing their gills to hemorrhage. The fish generally suffer a slow, suffocating death. No practical cure has been found to prevent or treat a golden alga bloom. In Texas, the first golden algae fish kill considered major took place in January 2001, when thousands of striped bass along with virtually every other species of fish in

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Possum Kingdom Lake began washing ashore. Thousands of other dead and dying fish simply sank to the bottom or were consumed by birds as they struggled or floated at the surface. By April that year, the attacks from golden algae had spread downriver to lakes Granbury and Whitney. By 2004, fish kills caused by golden algae had been recorded not only at reservoirs on four river systems (Colorado, Brazos, Pecos, and Red) but also at the Dundee State Fish Hatchery near Wichita Falls, where it destroyed the state’s striped bass production by killing 28 million striper fry. The loss of the stripers at the Dundee

by Bob Hood hatchery was particularly significant because it came at a time when the state’s only other striper factory located below the Possum Kingdom Lake dam was shut down during a $5 million renovation of the 50-year-old hatchery. Although the fish kills crippled many fisheries, they did not wipe out the entire populations of any species of a single body of water other than at the Dundee hatchery. However, just learning of so many fish being killed prompted many anglers to quit fishing Possum Kingdom, Whitney, and others. Meanwhile, heavy year-to-year stockings of Florida largemouth bass, striped bass, channel catfish, and even bluegill in one instance, began to boost the populations in many of the lakes. Possum Kingdom still has not drawn the numbers of anglers it once did, but that likely is due to other factors. For one, many of the bass tournament organizations that held events on the lake prior to the 2001 fish kill no longer exist. Also, a crippled economy has changed how far and how often many anglers are willing to go fishing. Nevertheless, Possum Kingdom is producing outstanding catches of largemouth bass, crappie, sand bass, and small striped bass. Virtually all of the striped bass fishing F i s h

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guides on the lake vacated it soon after the 2001 fish kill, and only a small number of local residents appear to fish for stripers. That has left PK’s striper fishery virtually untouched. A lot of stripers are being caught, but most of them are small fish taken in the big schools of sand bass that have been providing excellent action. The largemouth bass at PK seem to be benefiting from the 16-inch minimum size limit that went into effect in 2003. That, plus numerous stockings of fingerling Florida bass since 2002, has resulted in a great rebound for the popular game fish. Whitney’s overall fishery is back on track, too. Striped bass were first stocked in Whitney in 1973 and have been stocked every year since 1984, except for 1973 and 2000. Last year, 332,542 striper fingerlings were added to the lake’s great striper fishery. Whitney also was stocked with 13,747 bluegills in 2005 to help boost that important food source for many game fishes. Although Granbury never has produced the numbers or size of stripers that have PK or Whitney, the lake’s largemouth bass action remains excellent, especially during March and April when the fish move into the shallows to spawn. Lake Texoma’s bout of golden algae in March 2004 involved mostly threadfin shad in a small area of the lake and did not have an impact on that lake’s incredible fishery. Texoma remains a top lake for striped bass, largemouth bass, sand bass, and catfishes. Many of the other reservoirs affected by golden algae fish kills either had poor or fair fisheries before the kills occurred, and remain about the same today. However, the watch remains on all of them, from Baylor, Childress, Kemp, and Diversion on the Red River basin to Sweetwater and Buffalo Springs in the Brazos basin, Colorado City, Spence, Moss Lake on the Colorado River basin, and Balmorhea and Red Bluff on the Rio Grande basin, as well as others.


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Ike Damaged Galveston Bay Floor ONDUCTING A RAPID RESPONSE RESEARCH mission after Hurricane Ike, scientists at The University of Texas at Austin surveyed the inlet between Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, discovering the hurricane significantly reshaped the seafloor and likely carried an enormous amount of sand and sediment out into the Gulf. The ongoing research could help coastal communities gauge the effectiveness of their sometimes-controversial efforts to replenish eroding sand along shorelines while revealing the role storms play in building and eroding barrier islands such as Galveston. “The big question is whether the sand was entirely removed from the system or if it’s still close enough to the shoreline to get back into the system,” said John Goff, survey team member and senior research scientist at the university’s Jackson School of Geosciences. Goff and Mead Allison, another research scientist at the Jackson School, used the 60foot research vessel R/V Acadiana to conduct a seafloor survey of the Bolivar Roads inlet just a week and a half after Hurricane Ike made landfall on the Texas coast. The inlet is the main passage between the Gulf of Mexico and Galveston Bay, and is the route of the Houston Ship Channel as it passes between Galveston Island to the west and Bolivar Peninsula to the east. The team used sonar to map the depth of the seafloor and seismic instruments to measure the thickness of sediments. The researchers knew the area well, having led a group of university students on a marine geology and geophysics field class to Galveston last summer, collecting the most recent

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pre-Ike seafloor mapping and sample data from Bolivar Roads. “The timing of our previous study was fortuitous, adding to the practical and public benefit of our post-Ike data,” ” said Goff. Hurricane Ike’s surge filled Galveston Bay with 12 feet of water, which subsequently drained back into the ocean as a “back surge.” Although considerable amounts of water flowed over the Bolivar Peninsula and other lower-lying portions of the barrier system, most of the surge and back surge likely passed through Bolivar Roads, by far the deepest access between the Gulf and the Bay. The very high rate of flow that must have passed through the inlet had the potential to cause substantial erosion and transport sediment long distances. Comparing pre- and post-Ike surveys, the scientists determined the hurricane’s surge and back surge significantly modified the seabed over broad areas. Ike erased or substantially degraded large shell-gravel ridges up to 10 feet high. The storm gouged out sediments deposited hundreds of thousands of

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years ago to create “erosional pits” up to 5 feet deep in one area. It appears to have mobilized and redeposited sediments over large regions in a layer 8-40 inches thick, and in isolated spots up to 6.5 feet thick. Most of the movement of sediments is associated with the back surge. In conducting the post-Ike survey, scientists are primarily interested in investigating the impact of the storm surges on the movement of sediment into and out of the beach barrier system. Maintenance of a barrier system requires an influx of sand, provided naturally by rivers such as the Mississippi. Human modifications to rivers by dams or levees disrupt the delivery of sand to the shore, which can cause the barrier system to degrade. Until now, the transport of sediments during large storms was a poorly known quantity. Surges could potentially boost the barrier island sand budget by delivering sediments to the shore face, or they could subtract from it by moving sand too far off shore to be incorporated into the barrier system. The pre- and

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Amen THE NIGHTLIGHT RADIATED AN HOURglass glow against my bedroom wall. Shadows filled the corners and dusky shapes lurked on top of bureaus and chairs. They were familiar objects and raised no alarm. Besides, if something wasn’t recognizable it took only seconds to crawl out of bed and investigate. An electric clock hummed on the nightstand, the shining face whirring away the minutes until the next day. The sheets felt cool and my head sank into the pillow, the pillowcase smelling fresh and feeling soft. Everything in my world seemed at peace. But something was missing. The day was

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not yet finished. Then the sliding door rumbled open and Mama eased into the room. “Honey, are you sleeping?” “No, ma’am, I’m awake.” “Okay, then,” and as she sat on the edge of the bed, we folded our hands, and I concentrated my focus where the nightlight met the shadows. Then we spoke in unison. Dear Father in Heaven look down from above Bless Mama and Papa and those who I Love May angels watch over my slumber and when The morning is breaking awake me — Amen Then Mama tucked the covers under my chin, and bent over to kiss me on the cheek. “Goodnight, honey,” she said and eased

back out of the room. The door rumbled shut and the day ended. I was satisfied. 2. The big yellow horse plodded up the mountain trail, kicking plumes of frozen mist as it forged through the knee-deep snow. The world was more black and white than color. The sky was still and overcast in solid dreary gray. Only the spruce trees lent a slight variance but the green bows were cloaked in deep billowy inches of snow and the greenery went practically unseen. There was no wind, and as my hunting client rode behind, our walking horses made the only sounds in the silent forest. In all the tranquil beauty, we suffered. The temperature was pinned at 1 degree below zero. I had on long johns, wool pants, and batwing chaps. My top was layered with a Tshirt, long john shirt, flannel shirt, vest, a double thickness of heavy coats, and wool mittens.

Continued from Page C55 post-Ike survey work will also identify any storm-affected changes to the inlet channel that could affect navigation. Funding for the survey was provided by the Jackson School’s Rapid Response Program, which funds field research requiring immediate action, in advance of the months it often takes to receive federal or non-profit grant money. Such projects include research into the effects of natural disasters like sinkholes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis. —Staff Report

Massive Jellyfish Swarms in Gulf, other Locations MASSIVE SWARMS OF STINGING JELLYFISH AND jellyfish-like animals are transforming many world-class fisheries and tourist destinations C56

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into veritable jellytoriums that are intermittently jammed with pulsating, gelatinous creatures. Areas that are currently particularly hard-hit by these squishy animals include Hawaii, the Gulf of Mexico, the East Coast of the U.S., the Bering Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Australia, Black Sea and other European seas, Sea of Japan, North Sea, and Namibia. Massive jellyfish swarms—some of which cover hundreds of square miles—have caused injuries and even occasional deaths to water enthusiasts, and have caused serious damage to fisheries, fish farms, marine mines, desalination plants, ships, and nuclear power plants. Since the 1980s, jellyfish swarms have cost the world’s fishing and tourism industries alone hundreds of millions of dollars and perhaps even billions of dollars. From large swarms of potentially deadly peanut-sized jellyfish in Australia to swarms of hundreds of millions of refrigerator-sized jellyfish in the Sea of Japan, suspicion is growing that population explosions of jellyF i s h

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PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL DAWSON, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, MERCED

NEWS FROM THE COAST

fish are being generated by human activities. Human activities that have been suggested by media reports and scientists as possible causes of some jellyfish swarms include pollution, introductions of non-native species, overfishing, and the presence of artificial structures, such as oil and gas rigs. —Staff Report


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I couldn’t move. My wool cap was pulled over my ears and my collar was pulled as high as it would tug. The horse’s wooden gait shot spasms along my sore spine, causing me to stiffen with each step. Suddenly, as the critter stepped around a curve and over a root, it stumbled and went to its knees. The sudden pitch forward was too fast. I couldn’t catch myself. Instead, I put a little jump behind my motion and sailed headlong between my mount’s ears. I missed the trail and fell off the side of the hill. Then I lit on my shoulder and rolled, caught my feet, but tumbled again. By the third summersault, I was laughing. Then I flipped sideways, rolled that way a couple of times, and banged to a stop against a stump. For a second, I peered around to see how far I would have scattered down the mountain had the stump not stopped me. Then I glanced up the hill at my hunter. “Are you all right?” he stammered his query with concern. “I figured you’d be dead for sure.” I dragged myself to my feet and trudged back up the hill, grinning, surprised at how far I had fallen. The snow was caked on me like thick gooey frosting. “Aw, shoot. The Good Lord watches over

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me. It’ll take more than getting dumped off a puny mountain to bother us. Besides, I landed in two feet of snow on top of bear grass. You couldn’t ask for a softer mattress. I just wondered how far back up this mountain I’d have to climb.” 3. Times were hard. The outfitter displayed every indication of a business going broke and the hunters weren’t happy. Game was hard to find and there was no meat on the meat pole. If hunting didn’t get better, I was about to shoot one of the tame mule deer in the horse pasture for the sake of saving the camp’s attitude. “You know this outfitter won’t be around much longer,” said a grass-farming client from West Columbia. “I know you’re doing you’re best to cover for him, but...” Besides that, I hadn’t been paid in more than a month and my estranged wife and daughter had flown the coop to whereabouts unknown. That night I shrugged into my bedroll, tucked the Bugs Bunny doll my daughter gave me against my chin, and began reciting the old words: “Dear Father in Heaven look down from above...” After the standard rhyme, I swallowed my pride and asked for help. But I never said “Amen.” It seemed like the conversation was ongoing these days; no need to say goodbye. 4. Robert Kollaja, the groom, came up to me at the wedding reception. “Herman, the preacher is stuck and can’t

make it for the barbecue. Would you pray over the meal for us?” I gazed around. There must have been 600 or 700 people in the hall. They were all my friends, but I hesitated. “Robert, I’m on my third whiskey drink. I got no business praying in front of a bunch of folks.” No sooner had the words left my mouth than I was ashamed. It was an honor to be asked, and I needed to shake off my foolishness and do what was needed. “Wait a minute, Robert, I’ll do it.” Robert and his new wife, Jennifer, joined me on the stage and I took the microphone. “Lord, thank you for today. Thank you for bringing all these friends together for this special occasion. And thank you for this opportunity to share this moment in this young couple’s life. We’re headed into some strange times; watch over us Lord, and thank you for giving this couple the courage to seek each other out, and giving them the courage and desire to move forward together. Again, Lord, thank you for bringing us all together, and thank you for today. Okay… I reckon that’ll do. Let’s eat.” In unison, the congregation said, “Amen!” “Oh, yeah, Amen.” Seems like I always leave the conversation open-ended. Besides, you can’t say goodbye to somebody who is always with you. E-mail Herman W. Brune at wilderness@fishgame.com.

TOURNAMENT KINGPIN FLW, CITING NO other reason than the organization wanted to go back to its core plan, decides to drop the Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, the Wal-Mart Kingfish Series, the WalMart FLW Redfish Series, and the Wal-Mart FLW Striper Series. The final Redfish Series Championship was history making in more ways than one: Texas angler, Blake Pizzolato, fishing with his team partner, Dwayne Eschete of Mandeville, Louisiana, weighed in the heaviest redfish limit in Redfish Series history—two redfish weighing 21.10 pounds—to win the Series-ending event. The Redfish Series and Kingfish Tour originated in 2005; the Striper Series and Kingfish Series in 2006.—Tom Behrens

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Fajitas & More Texas Gourmet Beef Fajitas (Serves 4-6) REATED 20 YEARS AGO AND PERFECTED OVER time, this Texas Gourmet award-winning recipe is a tried and true favorite. The combination of spices and flavors mixed with a great grilling technique yields a great crowdpleasing batch of fajitas.

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3-4 lbs skirt steak, cut into 6to 8-inch pieces for ease of grilling 2 sweet onions, cut into 1/2inch rings 2 poblano peppers, cored, seeded, and sliced thin 2 red or yellow bell peppers, cored and sliced thin 6 cloves fresh garlic, minced 2 Tbs Texas Gourmet Sweet Chipotle Season All 1/2 cup soy sauce 1 can beer 3 Tbs brown sugar 1/2 cup fresh squeezed limejuice 1/3 cup olive oil 1 tsp black pepper Prep the skirt steak—carefully remove the thick membrane or white tissue if attached. Don’t worry about removing every little bit of fat from the beef because the meat is cooked over an extremely hot fire that actually melts the fat away. What is left moistens and flavors the meat. In a large bowl, combine the garlic, soy C58

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sauce, beer, brown sugar, limejuice, olive oil, Sweet Chipotle Season All, and pepper. Mix well, then place the fajitas, peppers, and onions in the marinade. Refrigerate and cover for a minimum of 4-6 hours. (If traveling or for ease in storage, you may place in gallon Zip-Loc bags.) For the fire: I prefer a hot mesquite and charcoal fire, but gas will work as well. Be careful with gas; the flare-ups will keep you busy and you will be well advised not to leave the grill unattended. When grilling, sear over a direct fire then move the steaks to indirect heat for cooking through. Keep grill closed as much as possible. Total cooking time approximately 12-15 minutes.

Store in a warm oven or grill until ready to serve. Serve with warm flour tortillas, Gringo Guacamole, Cilantro Rice, fire roasted serrano salsa, pineapple-mango pico de gallo, Borracho Beans, sour cream, fresh limes, and grated Colby-Jack cheese.

Borracho Beans This is a great side or supper dish, and can be mashed into refried beans as well. With the addition of the beer, the beans do not keep well and must be refrigerated after cooking if not on a hot stove or fire. Serves 12 to 14. 4 cups uncooked beans (preferably pinto beans) 4 quarts water 1 pound bacon or salt pork, chopped 1 onion- peeled and chopped 2 serrano chilies, chopped 1 cup cilantro, chopped 2 tomatoes, chopped 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced 2 tsp ground cumin 1 tsp freshly ground pepper salt to taste 1 can beer

For the peppers and onions, grill indirectly to keep from burning. Remove steaks and vegetables to a platter and rest for 20 minutes under a loose piece of foil. Slice meat across the grain into 1/4-inch strips, then cut the strips into bite sized pieces. Place pieces into a multi-layered foil pouch in a tray or baking dish. The reason for this is to reserve all the natural juices. F i s h

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Brown the bacon, drain off half the fat, then add the onion. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes then add the remainder of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce to a light boil, then cover and cook for 2 to 3 hours or until beans are tender and they have made a soup like consistency.

Cilantro Rice This great side dish can accompany fajitas, seafood, grilled meats, and enchiladas. PHOTO COURTESY OF BRYAN SLAVEN


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S P O N S O R E D BY:

1 Tbs chicken base (better than bouillon chicken base) 1 tsp minced garlic 1/2 cup fresh cilantro (chopped) 1 cup chicken stock 1 Tbs vegetable oil 1 medium onion diced fine 1-1/2 cup long grain white rice 1-1/2 cup Roma tomatoes diced fine 1/2 jar Texas Gourmet’s Fire Roasted Salsa or (8 oz red salsa) 1 Tbs salt

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pieces of foil. Remove mushrooms from marinade, place a foil square on a work surface and set a mushroom on top, under side up. Fold the foil edges over to enclose the mushroom and seal the edges shut. Grill indirectly over medium hot fire for 10-12 minutes with the lid closed. Remove and discard the foil. Return the unwrapped mushrooms to the grill, bottom side up, brush with the marinade and cook until grill marked, 30-60 seconds. Remove from the

grill and slice into 1/4-inch thick slices. Serve with warm flour tortillas, grilled rings of onion, guacamole, and pico de gallo.

Contact Bryan Slaven, "The Texas Gourmet," at 888-234-7883, www.thetexasgourmet.com; or by email at texas-tasted@fishgame.com.

Place the chicken base, garlic, cilantro, and chicken stock in a blender and puree. Transfer to a saucepan and bring to a boil. In a separate large skillet, add the vegetable oil and the onion, brown lightly. Add the rice and stir until rice is heated through and coated with the oil. Add the stock and cilantro mixture and cook on low heat covered for 18 minutes. Add the salsa, Roma tomatoes, and salt and continue to cook until the liquids are absorbed and the rice is done.

Portabello Fajitas 4 portabello mushrooms, stems removed and discarded, caps wiped clean 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 3 Tbs soy sauce 1 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro 6 oz dark beer 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper 1 Tbs Texas Gourmet Habanero Pepper Jelly 1 onion sliced into 1/2-inch thick rings Combine olive oil, sliced onion rings, limejuice, garlic, soy sauce, cilantro, habanero jelly, beer and pepper in a large zip lock plastic bag. Add the mushrooms, seal the bag, and gently shake to coat the mushrooms with the marinade. Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Cut four 12x12-inch A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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TEXAS SALTWATER

Matt and A Limits of shley Sp Hillman ecks Guide Service

LOWER LAGUNA MADRE

GALVESTON

ROCKPORT

affney Damien G eds 4R 3 Trout harters C sh Redfi

TEXAS FRESHWATER LAKE AMISTAD ADVERTISERS, MAIL IN YOUR PHOTOS TODAY!

CORPUS CHRISTI

Tom Sham Texas Win bo Group ter Jig Striper Ex Fish pre Guide Serv ss ice

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Bill Brooks 42-inch Redfish ce Hillman Guide Servi

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Tom Wright, Todd , Stephen and Ken Specks and Reds Hugo Ford Guide Se rvice

Benjamin Spaulding Redfish Redfish Charters

TEXAS HUNTING

OUTDOOR SHOPPER

LAKE TEXOMA

BAFFIN BAY

OUTDOOR SHOPPER

ADVERTISERS, MAIL IN YOUR PHOTOS TODAY!

SPOTLIGHT: NEWGLASS2 For Classified Rates and Information call Dennise at 1-800-750-4678, ext. 5579. TEXAS HUNTING

NewGlass2 is a space age acrylic polymer. It is designed to seal and protect fiberglass from salt and sun. As fiberglass grows older it develops tiny pores and cracks as the fiberglass dries out. NewGlass2 fills in the pores and cracks as it mechanically bonds to the fiberglass. This adds a coating of hard, shiny acrylic plastic to the surface of your fiberglass. This protective coating of hard acrylic makes colors pop out and the surface shines like new. NewGlass was developed in a marina in Miami to protect fiberglass from the Florida sun. That was 1988, over 20 years ago. NewGlass2 has been protecting boats and RVs ever since then. Improvements have been made over the years and now NewGlass2 is easier to apply, longer lasting and more protective. In Texas, NewGlass2 should last between 14 and 18 months. It is recommended that 2 maintenance coats be applied every 12 months to extend the life of the shine. A quart of NewGlass2 will coat and protect a 25’ center console fishing boat or a 30’ RV. NewGlass2 dries very quickly to a hard, shiny surface. A quart of NewGlass2 sells for $39.95 plus shipping from Florida. No Compounding. No Rubbing. No Buffing. Satisfaction is backed by a 100% Money Back Guarantee. More information is available from Thom and Jennifer at 800 785 7675 or at www.NewGlass2.com. —Thom Goff of NewGlass2 A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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BASS—LAKE AUSTIN, TEXAS

RED SNAPPER—FREEPORT, TEXAS

David Whitehead of Mustang Ridge, Texas, caught this 6-pound, 3-ounce bass on Lake Austin floating a live minnow. This is the largest fish that he has landed on a rod and reel.

Nick Barnett, age 10, of Spring, Texas, caught his limit of red snapper just before Federal regulations outside of 9 miles changed. He was fishing with his dad and friend out of Freeport, Texas, and all caught their limits on dead shad in 1-1/2 hours.

BUCK—EDEN, TEXAS

REDFISH—ROCKPORT, TEXAS

WHITIES—SURFSIDE BEACH, TEXAS

Cody Brigham, age 13, of Austin, Texas, bagged the buck of a lifetime while hunting at Two Oaks Ranch near Eden, Texas. The buck, killed by one shoulder shot, rated a 159-6/8 B&C by Damuth Taxidermy.

Penny King of Iowa Park, Texas, caught this 81/2-pound, 28-inch redfish on the reefs near Rockport, while fishing with guide, Capt. Brent Hopkins. This was her first time fishing the bay.

Jacob Gallegos, age 7, of Humble, Texas, went fishing for reds at Surfside Beach with his PaPa and MaMa Hastings. They got invaded by whities instead and caught nine in 2 hours, all weighing 1 to 2 pounds.

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TF&G PHOTO ALBUM 1745 Greens Road Houston, Texas 77032 OR BY EMAIL: photos@fishgame.com

PLEASE INCLUDE NAME, HOMETOWN, WHEN & WHERE CAUGHT, SIZE AND WEIGHT

Note: All non-digital photos submitted become the property of Texas Fish & Game and will not be returned. TF&G makes no guarantee when or if any submitted photo will be published. F i s h

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REDFISH—CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS

BLACK DRUM—SABINE LAKE, TEXAS

Tiffani Crumley, age 3, of San Antonio, Texas, Debra Black of George West, Texas, hooked her Kyle Miller, age 4, of Lumberton, Texas, caught caught her first catfish at a pond near Canyon first redfish on a bayfishing trip with her husband this 15-inch black drum while fishing at North Lake. The biggest was 3-1/2 pounds. John in Corpus Christi. The 24-inch red was caught Sabine Lake. on live shrimp under an Alameda cork.

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ORTH TEXAS ANGLERS ARE NOT READY TO uncross their fingers yet, but lakes Possum Kingdom, Granbury, Whitney, and many of the 23 other water bodies that have suffered golden algae-related fish kills since 2001 are on a sharp rebound. Healthy populations of largemouth bass, striped bass, catfishes, and crappie are back on most of those lakes, as are many of the anglers who abandoned the waters after severe fish kills crippled the fisheries in 2001 and 2003 Golden algae were relatively unknown in North America prior to 1986, the year it was discovered in the Pecos River below Red Bluff Reservoir in West Texas. It had been found prior to the Pecos River discovery, however, in other countries including Denmark, Britain, South Africa, Scotland, and Italy. Golden algae’s scientific name is Prymnesium parvum, a microscopic organism (about 3000 to the inch) that not only utilizes sunlight as a source of energy through photosynthesis like most other algae, but also is capable of consuming other material. When a golden algae “bloom” (rapid

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population explosion) occurs, the cells release toxins that affect fish by causing their gills to hemorrhage. The fish generally suffer a slow, suffocating death. No practical cure has been found to prevent or treat a golden alga bloom. In Texas, the first golden algae fish kill considered major took place in January 2001, when thousands of striped bass along with virtually every other species of fish in Possum Kingdom Lake began washing ashore. Thousands of other dead and dying

by Bob Hood fish simply sank to the bottom or were consumed by birds as they struggled or floated at the surface. By April that year, the attacks from golden algae had spread downriver to lakes Granbury and Whitney. By 2004, fish kills caused by golden algae had been recorded not only at reservoirs on four river systems (Colorado, Brazos, Pecos, and Red) but also at the Dundee State Fish Hatchery near Wichita Falls, where it destroyed the state’s striped bass production by killing 28 million striper fry. A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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The loss of the stripers at the Dundee hatchery was particularly significant because it came at a time when the state’s only other striper factory located below the Possum Kingdom Lake dam was shut down during a $5 million renovation of the 50-year-old hatchery. Although the fish kills crippled many fisheries, they did not wipe out the entire populations of any species of a single body of water other than at the Dundee hatchery. However, just learning of so many fish being killed prompted many anglers to quit fishing Possum Kingdom, Whitney, and others. Meanwhile, heavy year-to-year stockings of Florida largemouth bass, striped bass, channel catfish, and even bluegill in one instance, began to boost the populations in many of the lakes. Possum Kingdom still has not drawn the numbers of anglers it once did, but that likely is due to other factors. For one, many of the bass tournament organizations that held events on the lake prior to the 2001 fish kill no longer exist. Also, a crippled economy has changed how far and how often many anglers are willing to go fishing. Nevertheless, Possum Kingdom is pro&

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In This Issue

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INDUSTRY INSIDER • Hoffpauir Outdoor Superstore; and more | BY TF&G STAFF

OUTDOOR LIFESTYLE SECTION

SHOOT THIS! • Smith & Wesson i-Bolt in .30-06 | BY STEVE LAMASCUS

I32 I47 I48 I52 I54 I58

FISH THIS! • ZipVac: Keeping Game Fish | BY GREG BERLOCHER

HOW-TO SECTION

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COVER STORY • Post-Golden Algae Recovery | BY BOB HOOD

HOTSPOTS & TIDES SECTION

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TEXAS HOTSPOTS • Texas’ Hottest Fishing Spots | BY CALIXTO GONZALES & JD MOORE

I16

SPORTSMAN’S DAYBOOK • Tides, Solunar Table, Best Hunting/Fishing Times | BY TF&G STAFF

GEARING UP SECTION

I24 I26

TEXAS TESTED • Bushnell; Daiwa; StarTron | BY TF&G STAFF NEW PRODUCTS • What’s New from Top Outdoor Manufacturers | BY TF&G STAFF

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BOWHUNTING TECH • Examining the Portable Blind | BY LOU MARULLO

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TEXAS GUNS & GEAR • What is “Enough Gun?” | BY STEVE LAMASCUS

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TEXAS BOATING • Outboard Troubleshooting 101 | BY LENNY RUDOW

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TEXAS KAYAKING • Paddling Your Children | BY GREG BERLOCHER

I44 I45 I46 I56

SALTWATER BAITS & RIGS • Loops and Hooks | BY PATRICK LEMIRE FRESHWATER BAITS & RIGS • Swimming Worm | BY PAUL BRADSHAW WOO’S CORNER • Big is Better | BY WOO DAVES WILDERNESS TRAILS • Amen | BY HERMAN W. BRUNE

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TROPHY FEVER • It Does Not Taste Like Chicken, But… | BY CHESTER MOORE TOURNAMENT NEWS • Joey Nania Takes Jr. Bassmaster | BY MATT WILLIAMS SALTWATER TALES • Mysterious Bay Worms | BY KYLE TOMEK SPORTING TALES • Yankee Doodle | BY CALIXTO GONZALES NEWS FROM THE COAST • Ike Damaged Galveston Bay Floor | BY TF&G STAFF TEXAS TASTED • Fajitas & More | BY BRYAN SLAVEN

DISCOVER THE OUTDOORS • Classifieds | BY TF&G STAFF PHOTO ALBUM • Your Action Photos | BY TF&G STAFF

Possum Kingdom Lake has rebounded from a major golden algae fish-kill in 2001 and minor algae-related fish kills since then, as these three young anglers from Arkansas discovered while fishing with guide John Bryan of Graham. ducing outstanding catches of largemouth bass, crappie, sand bass, and small striped bass. Virtually all of the striped bass fishing guides on the lake vacated it soon after the 2001 fish kill, and only a small number of local residents appear to fish for stripers. That has left PK’s striper fishery virtually untouched. A lot of stripers are being caught, but most of them are small fish taken in the big schools of sand bass that have been providing excellent action. The largemouth bass at PK seem to be benefiting from the 16-inch minimum size limit that went into effect in 2003. That, plus numerous stockings of fingerling Florida bass since 2002, has resulted in a great rebound for the popular game fish. Whitney’s overall fishery is back on track, too. Striped bass were first stocked in Whitney in 1973 and have been stocked every year since 1984, except for 1973 and 2000. Last year, 332,542 striper fingerlings were added to the lake’s great striper fishery. Whitney also was stocked with 13,747 I2

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bluegills in 2005 to help boost that important food source for many game fishes. Although Granbury never has produced the numbers or size of stripers that have PK or Whitney, the lake’s largemouth bass action remains excellent, especially during March and April when the fish move into the shallows to spawn. Lake Texoma’s bout of golden algae in March 2004 involved mostly threadfin shad in a small area of the lake and did not have an impact on that lake’s incredible fishery. Texoma remains a top lake for striped bass,

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largemouth bass, sand bass, and catfishes. Many of the other reservoirs affected by golden algae fish kills either had poor or fair fisheries before the kills occurred, and remain about the same today. However, the watch remains on all of them, from Baylor, Childress, Kemp, and Diversion on the Red River basin to Sweetwater and Buffalo Springs in the Brazos basin, Colorado City, Spence, Moss Lake on the Colorado River basin, and Balmorhea and Red Bluff on the Rio Grande basin, as well as others.

PHOTO BY BOB HOOD


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by Calixto Gonzales, South Zone Fishing Editor & JD Moore, North Zone Fishing Editor

A Penny for Your Reds

have become aggressive because of a long warm stretch, they’ll hit shrimp tails bounced along the bottom. Watch for a weedline near the color change and fish parallel to it.

LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Unnecessary Island GPS: N26 13.811, W97 16.342

LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Dolphin Point (bank access) GPS: N26 4.044, N97 9.712 SPECIES: sheepshead BEST BAITS: live or dead shrimp CONTACT: White Sand Marina, 956943-943-6161 TIPS: Sheepshead congregate in thick numbers around the rocks up and down the jetties from Dolphin Point to the end of the rocks. Live and dead shrimp can be fished under a cork so that it will hold just over the rocks. If the fish are holding closer to the edge, switch over to the lightest split shot you can get away with. Even so, be ready to lose some hardware.

SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: live shrimp/popping cork, live mullet; Gulp! Shrimp in New Penny, 1/4-ounce redfish Magic spinner bait CONTACT: Captain Ruben Garcia, 956459-3286 TIPS: The shallows are beginning to warm as spring-type weather starts to move in. Live shrimp always is a good first choice. Swim a gold safety-pin style spinner bait with a red/white or Texas Shad plastic around weedbeds if fish are active The ubiquitous Mauler/shrimp rig is always effective, especially if heavy March winds have murked up the water, or if the fish are deeper. Use an 18-inch, 20- to 30-pound leader for added toughness. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Unnecessary Island GPS: N26 13.800, W97 16.300 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: live shrimp/popping cork; Gulp! Shrimp in New Penny, Glow CONTACT: Captain Ruben Garcia, 956459-3286 TIPS: Fish the deeper water near the ICW to locate speckled trout that are showing an appetite after winter dormancy. The same live shrimp/popping cork rigs that you are using for redfish on the flats will work for speckled trout. If the fish I4

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LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Gaswell Flats GPS: N26 10.713, W97 11.107 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: live bait, 1/4-ounce gold spoons, soft plastics in red/white, New Penny CONTACTS: Captain Jimmy Martinez, 956-551-9581 TIPS: Drift the basin that runs parallel the flats just south of the flats for redfish. There will be a marked color change along the drop-off, and trout will hold along the weedline to ambush forage fish and shrimp. Live shrimp under a popping cork, or a shad or shrimp tail rigged the same way are standard choices for this time of year. Pay attention to where you’re at; the shallows can get you stuck but good.

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LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: The Pasture &

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JD

Calixto

GPS: N26 5.857, W97 10.897 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: live bait, Gulp! Shrimp in New Penny. DOA shrimp in Glow, Glow/pink tail CONTACT: Captain Jimmy Martinez, 956-551-9581 TIPS: There are trout all over this long grass flat when water temperatures start creeping up above 70 degrees. Fish seem to prefer deeper water (3-4 feet), but they will roam up onto shallower bars an sunny days. If the wind is very strong, use a drift anchor (or two if it is really cranking) to slow down your drift. Live shrimp is usually the best bet, especially if the wind has dirtied the water. Gulp! Shrimp are a good substitute. Try a DOA on calmer days. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Airport Cove GPS: N26 10.020, W97 18.120 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: live bait, cut ballyhoo; topwaters, in Smoke, pinfish patterns; soft plastics in red/white, Bone-chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Jimmy Martinez, 956-551-9581 TIPS: It’s a bit of a run to Airport Cove from Port Isabel or SPI, but the jaunt is worth it when the trout are turned on. Cut ballyhoo on a bottom rig or under a Mansfield Mauler is tough to beat. If the water warms up, then topwaters are a good choice, especially She Dogs and SkitterWalks. If the water is still cool, fish soft plastics near the bottom with 1/8th-ounce jigheads. Work slowly and keep a soft touch to detect light takes. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Airport Cove GPS: N26 8.813, W97 17.740 SPECIES: speckled trout


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BEST BAITS: live shrimp, cut ballyhoo; topwaters, in Smoke, pinfish patterns; Soft plastics in red/white, Bone-chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Jimmy Martinez, 956-551-9581 TIPS: If strong winds have turned the trout off, fret not. Redfish don’t seem to mind wind-whipped water. In fact, they seem to get more aggressive. If the water is off-colored, the scent of a big chunk of ballyhoo on a bottom rig will bring them in. If the water settles and has a bit of clarity, then try fishing a noisy topwater such as a Super Spook or a He-Dog. The louder the plug, the better. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Stover Point GPS: N26 12.195, W97 17.784 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: live bait, Gulp! Shrimp in New Penny; soft plastics in red/white, New Penny, Rootbeer; gold spinnerbaits CONTACT: Captain Ruben Garcia, 956459-3286 TIPS: Watch for boils and nervous water. Fish a spinnerbait with your rod-tip up longer rod (a 7- to 7-1/2-foot rod is best). Work it just under the surface to maximize the flash that the gold blade will pull from sunlight. Off-colored water might require that you switch over to live bait or Gulp! tails. Long casts will allow you to work more water and lessen the chance of spooking fish. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Green Island GPS: N26 23.533, W97 19.330 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: live shrimp; Gulp! Shad, Shrimp, or Jerkbaits; topwaters CONTACT: Captain Ruben Garcia, 956459-3286 TIPS: This water seems to stay fairly clear, even with a strong southeast wind blowing. A gold spoon or spinnerbait with a red trailer can be deadly, especially when the sun is higher in the sky. If the redfish are still not striking faster moving lures, then live bait under a popping cork should do the trick. Line your drift with the spoil islands that trace the ICW. I6

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Morning Glory Trout LOCATION: Baffin Bay HOTSPOT: The Tide Gauge GPS: N27 18.082, W97 27.512 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Corky or Corky Devil in dark patterns; Bass Assassin in Morning

Glory, Baffin Magic, Pumpkinseed/chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: Gator hunters love fishing Baffin in March. Those who are looking for the trout of a lifetime will fish areas such as the tide gauge. The key is to fish the area as carefully and as thoroughly as you can (in other words, s-l-o-w-l-y). You may only get a few strikes per day, but they are from the sort of trout that make you forget the dead time. LOCATION: Baffin Bay HOTSPOT: Black’s Bluff GPS: N27 13.972, W97 31.112 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: suspending lures, topwaters in Smoke, natural mullet; eel-style plastics in Plum-chartreuse, Glow/chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: Fish the deep rocks with soft plastics on a 1/8-ounce jighead. A lot of fishermen break out Corkies for this type of fishing, but a Catch 2000 or Catch 5 is just as effective. “Dead Stick” this baits on a semi-slack line and let them sit in place for several seconds. Give them another twitch, and wait some more. If you are lucky, the wait will be well worth it.

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LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Compuerta Pass GPS: N27 19.766, W97 24.133 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: B&L Corky in Strawberry/black, Smoke; jerkbaits in Plum/chartreuse, Morning Glory CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: Wade the potholes 100 yards from shore. If the weather has been mild, trout will be more aggressive and may prefer a slightly faster presentation. If they are still in their winter funk, then go back to slow and steady. The fish will tell you what they want. LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Night Hawk GPS: N27 33.646, W97 17.658 SPECIES: Speckled trout BEST BAITS: B&L Corky, Catch 2000 in silver/black, Smoke, blue/chrome; jerkbaits in Plum/chartreuse, Blood/white, Bone/Foil, Opening Night CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: Fish deeper water to find speckled trout that are suspended in the middepths. Jerkbaits or suspending plugs will stay in the strike zone longer than any other lure, which is important because of the need to fish very slowly. LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Night Hawk GPS: N27 30.627, W97 17.645 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: jerkbaits in Plum/chartreuse, Blood/white, Bone/Foil, Opening Night; gold spoons CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: Redfish don’t need the same subtle presentation that trout do. A weedless gold spoon worked at a moderate-slow retrieve where it skims over grass is going to generate plenty of strikes if redfish are in the area. Give the spoon an occasional


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“twitch” for some extra flash to catch a fish’s attention.

Soft Plastic Specled Trout LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Midlake Humps GPS: N29 54.906, W93 50.415 SPECIES: speckled trout

BAITS: soft plastic in chartreuse patterns, crankbaits CONTACT: Captain Bill Watkins, 401786-2018, www.fishsabinelake.com TIPS: If there are no birds working over schools of feeding fish, electronics will help you locate the humps. Drift over the humps and fish through them with shad tails. A novel approach is to use a crankbait to dig down deep. If the crank bangs along the bottom, you’ll get a fish’s

attention. Fish are aggressive when they are on the feed, and will attack any fastmoving bait that rumbles by them. LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Willow Bayou GPS: N29 51.727, W93 46.867 SPECIES: flounder BEST BAITS: live shad, mud minnows; Old Bayside Shadlyn in Smoke, Pearl/chartreuse, Glow/chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Bill Watkins, 409786-2018, www.fishsabinelake.com TIPS: Flounder start moving up into the guts and cuts of bayous to ambush young bait that stronger tidal flow starts pushing out of the bayou. Fish around the visible structure with bottom bouncing baits and lures. Watch for bait skipping near shorelines to cue you in on where Mr. Flattie may be coming in for an easy meal. If the weather cools off, back up and fish deeper water. LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Willow Bayou GPS: N29 51.727, W93 46.867

SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: soft plastics in Red Shad, Morning Glory, Black/chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Bill Watkins, 409786-2018, www.fishsabinelake.com TIPS: Watch for birds working the deeper water near the mouth of the bayou. Trout will be chasing you of the year bait that is pushed out of the bayou. Soft plastics that mimic baitfish in the 3-inch range are good choices. Fish the perimeter of any school you happen upon to try and find bigger fish that are picking off leftovers. LOCATION: East Galveston Bay HOTSPOT: Hannah’s Reef GPS: N29 28.632, W94 45.809 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: topwaters, soft plastics in Red Shad, Plum, Limetreuse, Morning Glory CONTACT: Captain Steve Hillman, 409925-7204 TIPS: Hannah’s is a good starting point for March fishing. Fish the middle of the reef in the morning with topwaters such as a She Dog or Super Spook, Jr, and the edges and guts with soft plastics as the day progresses. Watch for slicks, patrolling birds and nervous bait. Those will be your cues to locate active fish. Fish with the current when the tide is moving. LOCATION: East Galveston Bay HOTSPOT: Hannah’s Reef GPS: N29 28.865, W94 45.961 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: live or cut mullet; soft plastics in Red Shad, Plum, Limetreuse, Morning Glory CONTACT: Captain Steve Hillman, 409925-7204 TIPS: Hanna’s also holds good numbers of redfish in March. Fish the edges of the bar and the down-current points when the tide is running. Again, watch for slicks and nervous bait to key on prowling fish. Fish deeper water for best results.

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LOCATION: West Galveston Bay HOTSPOT: Confederate Reef GPS: N29 15.823, W94 55.235 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: topwaters in Bone, chrome/blue, Bone/chartreuse; Corkies in Pearl/chartreuse; Catch 2000 in topwater patterns CONTACT: Captain Steve Hillman, 409925-7204 TIPS: Drift or wade the guts that run on the North and South sides of the reef, throwing topwaters early in the day, and switching over to soft plastics later in the day. Topwaters will work well into the morning on cloudier days. A Pearl/chartreuse Corky is a tough lure to beat, especially if cool weather persists. A Catch 5 or 2000 in Bone/chartreuse back is also very effective.

Shad & Shrimp Take Cats LOCATION: Falcon Lake HOTSPOT: San Ignacio GPS: N26 54.949, W99 19.230 SPECIES: catfish BEST BAIT: fresh shad, shrimp, prepared baits CONTACT: Falcon Lake Bait and Tackle, 956-765-4866 TIPS: Catfishing is always good on Falcon, but action really starts to shake in March. Fish deeper water around San Ignacio with either fresh cut bait or fresh shrimp. Prepared dip and sponge baits will work, but catch mostly smaller fish. Better blues and channels prefer meat. A standard bottom rig works just fine, but some fishermen like to use as little weight as possible to let the bait descend through the water column more slowly. LOCATION: Falcon Lake HOT SPOT: Falcon Lake State Park shoreline (bank access) GPS: N26 34.918, W99 9.028 SPECIES: catfish BEST BAIT: fresh shad, shrimp, chicken liver

ricane Dolly filled up a lot of brush that grew onto the lakebed as water receded. The flooded stuff is no excellent, albeit snaggy, catfish habitat. Residents of the Rio Grande Valley, or visitors with an afternoon to kill, will do well to wander up FM 88 to this lake and have a try for some of the catfish that call this irrigation reservoir home. Fresh shad or even carp are great baits, but chicken livers are fine too. Bring stout tackle. Last year, I caught several cats over 8 pounds before the timber was flooded.

CONTACT: Falcon Lake Bait and Tackle, 956-765-4866 TIPS: Campers and day-trippers who don’t want to worry about bringing a boat (or simply don’t have one) can find plenty of fishing action along the bank of the state park. Some nice 2- to 3-pound catfish hang out among the flooded timber. Sus-

pend your bait beneath a bobber (the old red/white round bobber is fine, but a popping cork has less water resistance when a cat takes the bait). Chicken liver is very popular, but I still prefer using shad, which catfish recognize as familiar prey.

Gold Traps Take Bass LOCATION: Elm Creek Reservoir, near Winters, TX HOTSPOT: Cove due west of boat ramp GPS: N31 56.640, W99 52.437 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: gold Rat-L-Traps, spinnerbaits in chartreuse/white; Nichols creature baits CONTACT: Wendell Ramsey, 325-2274931, bram4@suddenlink.net TIPS: Small West Texas lakes are loaded with big bass. The cove straight across

LOCATION: Falcon Lake HOT SPOT: Falcon Lake State Park shoreline (bank access) GPS: N26 34.918, W99 9.028 SPECIES: panfish BEST BAIT: red worms, crickets, 1/32ounce jigs CONTACT: Falcon Lake Bait and Tackle, 956-765-4866 TIPS: I mention this because Falcon’s panfish population is often overlooked. There may be a dearth of crappie and white bass, but there are plenty of sunfish and tilapia to occupy a child’s day. Break out the Zebco 33’s, the Aberdeen hooks, BB split shot and panfish bobbers, take your child and nephew or niece, and get out in the March sun. You don’t need heavyweights to have a good time. Sometimes, the bantamweights offer plenty of fun.

from the boat ramp is a great place to start looking for large females. Cast a moving bait in the standing brush and reel at medium retrieve through the center of cover. If you see a lay down, flip a creature bait along the edge, swim it down the side, and get ready to be hit. BANK ACCESS: Camping available, shoreline fishing

LOCATION: Delta Lake HOTSPOT: The Pumping Station (bank access) GPS: N26 25.100, W97 57.220 SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: fresh cut bait, chicken livers, prepared baits CONTACT: Delta Lake Tackle, 956-2623385 TIPS: Delta Lake is almost unrecognizable. Last year’s monsoon rains and HurA L M A N A C / T E X A S

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LOCATION: Hords Creek Lake, near Coleman, Texas HOTSPOT: Creek Arm GPS: N31 50.016, W99 35.414 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Nichols creature baits in Green Pumpkin, Watermelon Red; &

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buzzbaits in white, frogs in white or Watermelon Pearl CONTACT: Wendell Ramsey, 325-2274931, bram4@suddenlink.net TIPS: Another great little lake with camping and scenic areas. The only creek feeding this gem is loaded with Willow trees, Salt Cedar, and nice bass. Fish the abundant cover with a Strike King Rage Tail Space Monkey or Rage Craw from 26 feet deep. Try a buzzbait or topwater Rage Toad through the thick cover and wait. The strike will come. Also try a shallow running crankbait on the open flats near the channel edges. BANK ACCESS: Camping available, shoreline fishing LOCATION: Lake Possum Kingdom HOTSPOT: Costello Island GPS: N30 51.964, W98 25.582 SPECIES: striped Bass BEST BAITS: slabs, minnows CONTACT: Dean Heffner, 940-7792597, fav7734@aceweb.com TIPS: The stripers are fattening up as they head upriver to their spawning grounds. Again, as in February, watch for the birds, as they will point out the shad. When schools of shad are seen on your graph, back off, make long casts over the school, and quickly reel back. If stripers are present, get ready for a bone-jarring strike. Drift live minnows through the school. BANK ACCESS: Willow Beach RV Park, privately owned, ask for permission to fish, largemouth, crappie, striped and white bass

Buchanan Stripers LOCATION: Lake Buchanan HOTSPOT: Paradise Point GPS: N30 51.303, W98 25,553 SPECIES: striped bass I10

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BEST BAITS: Pirk Minnows, white Curb’s striper jigs, Gizz 4 crankbaits, live bait CONTACT: Kandie Candelaria, 210-8232153, kandie@gvtc.com TIPS: Stripers are good in 15-30 feet of water around Paradise Point. Vertically jig Pirk Minnows, Curb’s striper jigs; troll Gizz 4 crankbaits while drifting live bait. BANK ACCESS: Thunderbird Resort, catfish, largemouth, crappie, white bass LOCATION: Lake Buchanan HOTSPOT: Silver Creek GPS: N30 51.942, W98 24.811 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Secret Weapon spinnerbaits, Texas-rigged Pumpkin Whacky Sticks by crème lures; white suspending crankbaits CONTACT: Kandie Candelaria, 210-8232153, kandie@gvtc.com

TIPS: You will find largemouth bass up to 5 pounds by working the 5- to 10-foot break lines of flats in the deepest creeks. If you strike out here move to the dam and fish 1/4th-ounce Secret Weapon spinnerbait. BANK ACCESS: Thunderbird Resort, catfish, largemouth, crappie, white bass LOCATION: Canyon Lake HOTSPOT: Turkey Creek GPS: N29 51.846, W98 13.152 SPECIES: smallmouth bass BEST BAITS: crawfish-pattern Rat-LTraps, Smoke-colored JDC craws, Pumpkin-colored Robo worms on Picasso shakey heads or Texas-rigged with 1/8ounce Tungsten weights CONTACT: Kandie Candelaria, 210-8232153, kandie@gvtc.com TIPS: You will find the big smallmouth in 4 to 12 feet of water over main lake points and bluff ledges using the abovementioned baits. F i s h

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BANK ACCESS: Potters Creek Park, largemouth bass, stripers, catfish LOCATION: Fayette County Lake HOTSPOT: Joe’s Jigging Hole GPS: N29 55.570, W96 43.371 SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: shad or punch bait CONTACT: Weldon Kirk, 979-229-3103, www.FishTales-GuideService.com TIPS: Joe’s Jigging Hole is in deeper water, some of it 50 feet deep. Look for 40-foot water close to the 50-foot water. Anchor there and cast chum or range cubes around the boat. Fish with either a tight line straight down beneath the boat a few feet off the bottom or a large slip cork so you can use a heavier weight to get the bait down to the fish. Use No. 4 treble for punch bait; No. 1 Kahle hook for shad or cut bait. There is dead timber on bottom of this area as well as a sunken bridge just northeast of the above GPS coordinates. BANK ACCESS: Junkyard Cove, largemouth bass LOCATION: Lake Granger HOTSPOT: Taylor Park Cove GPS: N30 40.610, W97 21.812 SPECIES: crappie BEST BAITS: 1/16-ounce Jigum jigs and Bass Assassin jigs CONTACT: Tommy Tidwell, 512-3657761, www.gotcrappie.com TIPS: Use 10-foot jig poles with a slip cork above the jig and work slowly next to the bank in 1-2 feet of water. Jig color doesn’t seem to matter. BANK ACCESS: Wilson Fox Fishing Dock, crappie on live minnows fished straight down off dock. LOCATION: Lake LBJ HOTSPOT: Stump Field and Grass GPS: N30 36.551, W98 24.579 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Watermelon red soft jerkbaits, Watermelon red lizards, Texasrigged Watermelon red Whacky Sticks,


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and creature baits with chartreuse tails CONTACT: Kandie Candelaria, 210-8232153, kandie@gvtc.com TIPS: Largemouth bass are good to 7 pounds along stumps and laydowns on break lines of 5-9 feet deep flats. You will also find them on adjacent grass beds. BANK ACCESS: Robin Hood Park, catfish, largemouth bass

Snake Up Some White Bass LOCATION: Lake Aquilla HOTSPOT: Snake Island GPS: N31 55.215, W97 12,891 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: Little Georges, Tail Hummers, chrome Rat-L-Traps, chartreuse Slabs CONTACT: Randy Routh, 817-8225539, www.teamredneck.net TIPS: Have your binoculars handy. The birds are still working on the whites that are gorging and spawning. Around Snake Island, use Little Georges or Tail Hummers, casting along wind blown points. Triplett Point is also producing a lot of whites. Use same lures. BANK ACCESS: Tailrace Fishing Pier, white bass on jigs, Little Georges, Tail Hummers fished in outlet LOCATION: Lake Belton HOTSPOT: Upper Bull Creek GPS: N31 10.180, W97 31.125

SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: white spinnerbait with chrome Colorado blades CONTACT: Bob Maindelle, 254-3687411, Bob@HoldingTheLine GuideService.com TIPS: Fish from tree to tree, fishing slowly around trees by flipping spinnerbait and letting it helicopter down along the trunk.

Fish faster when moving to next tree. BANK ACCESS: Temple Lake Park, largemouth, catfish, white bass

BANK ACCESS: Crappie Dock, crappie with live minnows LOCATION: Lake Palestine HOTSPOT: Kickapoo Creek GPS: N32, 17.349, W95 29.923 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Shimmy Shaker, jigs, plastic worms, red Rat-L-Trap CONTACT: Ricky Vandergriff, 903-5617299, www.rickysguideservice.com TIPS: The bass are beginning their spawn and are biting well. You can find them in the back of creeks and the backs of small pockets. Fish slowly and cover the water well for best results: BANK ACCESS: Dam Park, largemouth bass, crappie, fish pockets and rock wall

LOCATION: Gibbons Creek Reservoir HOTSPOT: Crappie Hole GPS: N30 36.710, W96 04.000 SPECIES: crappie BEST BAITS: minnows and jigs CONTACT: Weldon Kirk, 979-229-3103, www.FishTales-GuideService.com TIPS: Crappie are closing in on spawning time. Work around rocks and tree stumps. Use a slip cork and set the depth on the cork often. Cast down the bank and very slowly reel the cork toward you in a start and stop motion. Let the cork sit for a minute, then reel about 6 inches, then let it sit again. Repeat the process until the cork is back at the boat. Try it close to shore, keeping cork in approximate depth as you have it set. You can use a jig under the cork or a minnow. A jig does not have to be jigged up and down. It will work with the reel and sit motion of the cork. BANK ACCESS: Hwy 175 Bridge east; cast lures for bass, minnows for crappie

LOCATION: Lake Palestine HOTSPOT: Flat Creek GPS: N32 11.654, W95 29.421 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: buzzbaits, in white, chartreuse, or combinations of both; Nichols spinnerbaits in white/chartreuse with double willow leaf blades, Texas-rigged lizards in black, blue, or Junebug colors CONTACT: Don Mattern, 903-478-2633, www.matternguideservice.fghp.com TIPS: March is the beginning of the peak spawning period in an area called Flat Creek. It is located east of the FM 315 bridge. The very back of this area is called School Bus Hole, because in the very back of one of the creeks an old school bus sits on the banks. There are three different cuts in the back with the one on the west bank being Flat Creek. All three areas hold big spawning female bass. This is a scenic area and less pressured except for tournament anglers because of the 5 mile trip through stump fields to the back of Flat Creek. Tilt your motor some and take it easy or you’ll tear up your boat getting in and out. BANK ACCESS: Dam Park, largemouth bass, crappie, fish pockets and rock wall

LOCATION: Lake Joe Pool HOTSPOT: Bowman Creek GPS: N32 37.194, W97 03.161 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: jigs and large Texas-rigged worms CONTACT: Randy Maxwell, 817-3132878, www.getagripguide.com TIPS: Check the secondary points and beyond in bigger creeks, such as Lynn and Walnut. All are great choices. If you hit a warm spell, check the flats that are close to creek bends with timber. The warmer the weather, the further I venture into the creeks. With the lack of grass, bass will start hanging around timber more and more. This makes the jig and Texas-rigged worm great choices. Don’t forget to move up a line size this time of year. You don’t want to cry over the big one that got away. One last thought. I keep a 3/4th-ounce Rat-L-Trap tied onto an extra rod for the times you find a few degrees weather difference. I always watch the weather for this opportunity. A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Rat-L-Traps, spinnerbaits, tubes, creature baits CONTACT: Steve Schmidt, 817-9290675, www.schmidtsbigbass.com TIPS: In March there will still be fish moving up in the creeks. Cool weather in the mornings will produce a decent bite. Larger fish are beginning to move in a prespawn pattern. Alternating cold fronts will make the fish move in and out. However, they won’t go far. Take fast moving baits like a Rat-L-Trap or spinnerbaits to cover water. When you find a few fish, slow down. Work the area with tubes or some type of creature bait. Some fish might be starting to move up on spawning beds. Take a Texas Rig with a 1/2-ounce Tungsten colored weight with a 4/0 or 5/0 Gamma hook. If you use smaller hooks, you will chance losing the fish. The reason for the small weight is that it will allow the bait to look more natural. BANK ACCESS: Midway Landing, fish shoreline on either side of boat ramp, also fish the cove shoreline to left of ramp when entering lake, largemouth bass, white bass LOCATION: Richland Chambers Reservoir HOTSPOT: Winkler Creek GPS: N31 57.307, W96 13.069 SPECIES: crappie BEST BAITS: small minnows or jigs CONTACT: Royce Simmons, 903-3894117, www.gonefishin.biz TIPS: Crappie time on Richland Chambers is mid to late March. The shallow water bite will normally last through April. Small minnows or jigs worked around cover in the backs of creeks and coves are deadly on these spawning fish. Twenty-five fish limits of 1.5 to 2 pound crappie are the norm. The morning bite is often the best, but not unusual to have a good late afternoon or night bite. Creeks such as Jones Branch on the Richland arm of the lake are also good places to locate spawning crappie. I12

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BANK ACCESS: Check out Fisherman’s Point Marina’s coves as hundreds of crappie are caught there each spring. LOCATION: Lake Somerville HOTSPOT: Apache Cove Island GPS: N30 20.411, W96 34.440 SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: shad or stink bait CONTACT: Weldon Kirk, 979-229-3103, www.FishTales-GuideService.com TIPS: Shad are coming out of the deeper water and can be found nearer to shore around this island. Anchor on the side of the island that the wind is blowing into. Use a slip cork with No. 4 Kahle hook. The cork will help prevent hanging on the rocks. This is a rock island. Deeper water comes close to the island also. It is a great place to set out some jug lines while you are casting lures close by. Larger blue and yellow catfish frequent this area at night, too. BANK ACCESS: Big Creek Marina, most species LOCATION: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir HOTSPOT: Upstream from Gravel Crossing GPS: N30 58.217, W97 41.128 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: small white curl-tail grubs on light jighead CONTACT: Bob Maindelle, 254-3687411, Bob@HoldingTheLine GuideService.com TIPS: The river is narrow. Be courteous and practice catch and release as these fish attempt to spawn and sustain the white bass population for the future. BANK ACCESS: Stillhouse Park, largemouth bass, crappie, catfish, smallmouth bass LOCATION: Lake Texoma HOTSPOT: Rock Creek GPS RESPECTIVELY: N33 55.842, W96 32.753 SPECIES: striped bass F i s h

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BEST BAITS: Road Runner, Sassy Shad jigs CONTACT: Bill Carey, 877-786-4477, www.striperexpress.com TIPS: The white bass have spawned and the stripers are staging up the main tributaries. The males will be moving upriver waiting for the females to arrive. Shallow structure like main lake points and backs of creeks will hold stripers. Road Runners and Sassy Shad jigs in white or chartreuse colors will work best. Pay attention to the seagulls, as they can be your best fish-finder. Most activity will be west of the Willis Bridge and north of the railroad bridge on the Washita arm of the lake. BANK ACCESS: Slickem Slough and Alberta Creek LOCATION: Lake Texoma HOTSPOT: Paw Paw Creek GPS: N33 53.992, W96 53.796 SPECIES: striped bass BEST BAITS: Road Runner, Sassy Shad jigs CONTACT: Bill Carey, 877-786-4477, www.striperexpress.com TIPS: The white bass have spawned and the stripers are staging up the main tributaries. The males will be moving upriver waiting for the females to arrive. Shallow structure like main lake points and backs of creeks will hold stripers. Road Runners and Sassy Shad jigs in white or chartreuse colors will work best. Pay attention to the seagulls, as they can be your best fish-finder. Most activity will be west of the Willis Bridge and north of the railroad bridge on the Washita arm of the lake. BANK ACCESS: Slickem Slough and Alberta Creek LOCATION: Tradinghouse Creek Reservoir HOTSPOT: Spawning Flat GPS: N31 33.945, W96 55.886 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: 8-inch Tequila Sunrise colored plastic worms and/or same size lizard


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CONTACT: Jimmy D. Moore, 254-7442104, rayado@earthlink.net TIPS: Tradinghouse sporadically produces electric power. When the plant is running, the bass spawn earlier. At this writing, no power is being generated, so it might be late March before the bass begin their spawning. Fish the worms and lizards weightless over the flats and in pockets of any visible reeds, etc. BANK ACCESS: East Levee, night fishing for catfish on stinkbait, chicken guts Turn left just past the levee and park in old picnic area, dress warmly. LOCATION: Lake Waco HOTSPOT: Airport Cove GPS: N31 36.045, W97 15.134 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: white/chartreuse spinnerbaits, black/blue or black/chartreuse jigs and pork combos, 8 inch Tequila Sunrise worms and lizards CONTACT: Jimmy D. Moore, 254-7442104, rayado@earthlink.net TIPS: Largemouth bass fishing is at its best in March and April. Coves protected

from the north wind and the backs of creeks, are great places to look for spawning bass at this time of year. Since the raising of the lake level in 2003, there is lots more standing timber along the shoreline and inside coves. By being careful, you can work your boat through the timber. Fish the outer edges with spinnerbaits, and flip worms and lizards in pockets inside the timber for best results. BANK ACCESS: Special fishing area at Reynolds Creek Park, just to the south of the boat ramp LOCATION: Lake Whitney HOTSPOT: Whitney Point GPS: N31 54.672, W97 20.873 SPECIES: striped bass BEST BAITS: chartreuse Wild-eyed or Sassy Shad, slabs CONTACT: Randy Routh, 817-8225539, www.teamredneck.net TIPS: Use chartreuse, Wild-eyed Shad or Sassy Shad, making long casts behind the boat and dragging baits using trolling motor, long-lining back and forth across the humps. Watch for the birds working

and have a rod rigged with 1-ounce Slab. Make long casts under the birds. Hop baits back to the boat. BANK ACCESS: Loafer’s Bend shoreline, striped bass, white, largemouth, and smallmouth LOCATION: Lake Whitney HOTSPOT: Whitney Creek GPS: N31 55.205, W97 20.6961 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: small swim bait and Fle-Fly jig CONTACT: Randy Routh, 817-8225539, www.teamredneck.net TIPS: March is a good time to head up river for spawning whites, but they can also be caught on the main lake. Spawning whites on the main lake are also along Whitney Point. Use a small swim bait, (Sassy Shad), and tie a Flea Fly about 10 inches above it and make long casts up on points and bounce up and down along edge of point back to boat. BANK ACCESS: Loafer’s Bend shoreline, striped bass, white, largemouth, and smallmouth

Chaney Gives Up Largemouths LOCATION: Lake Fork HOTSPOT: Chaney Creek GPS: N32 47.848, W95 33.603 SPECIES: largemouth bass

BEST BAITS: spinnerbait, Shimmy Shakers, Long A’s, and Mister Twister Comida worms in Watermelon Red flake and black/blue flake CONTACT: Ricky Vandergriff, 903-5617299, www.rickysguideservice.com TIPS: Bass are beginning their spawn I14

• M A R C H

2 0 0 9 /

T E X A S

F i s h

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ALL GPS COORDINATES VERIFIED BY

and can be found in main lake pockets and in the back of main lake creek channels. BANK ACCESS: Fishing Pier at Minnow Bucket Bait Stand, crappie, largemouth bass LOCATION: Lake Fork HOTSPOT: Penson Bay GPS: N32 53.354, W95 39.387 SPECIES: crappie BEST BAITS: crappie jigs, live minnows on long crappie pole with slip cork CONTACT: Michael Rogge, www.lakefork-guides.com TIPS: Crappie will start moving to the shallows in mid-March. Find drop offs in the backs of the creeks that are close to shallow flats that have cover. Check out Rodgers Creek, White Oak Bay, and Board Tree Branch. BANK ACCESS: Fishing Pier at Minnow Bucket Bait Stand, crappie, largemouth bass LOCATION: Sam Rayburn Reservoir HOTSPOT: Easley Flats GPS: N31 10.500, W93 59.230 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Nichols spinnerbaits in Blue Shad or chartreuse/white combo with willow leaf blades; Rat-L-Traps in Crawfish red or Red Shad; Texas-rigged lizards, jigs, tubes, and Senko type baits in Black Neon, Junebug, or Green Pumpkin CONTACT: Don Mattern, 903-478-2633, www.matternguideservice.fghp.com TIPS: Easley Flats is full of brush, wood, grass, and ditches full of spawning bass. Flip lizards, jigs, and tubes around the

brush and willows. Work the spinnerbait around the edges of the brush and willows. Texas-rigged Senkos rigged weightless or wacky style around the brush in 1-3 feet of water will catch big bass. Use same colors. BANK ACCESS: Powell Park Marina Fishing Pier, largemouth bass, catfish, white and striped bass Contact South Regional Fishing Editor Calixto Gonzales by email at cgonzales@fishgame.com Contact North Regional Fishing Editor JD Moore by email at hotspotsnorth@fishgame.com

For more Hotspots, Visit our website. Look for a completely new site next month, with a dynamic new INTERACTIVE HOTSPOTS CENTER that gives you real-time access to over 1,000 fishing spots!

A L M A N A C / T E X A S

F i s h

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Tides and Prime Times for MARCH 2009 USING THE PRIME TIMES CALENDAR

The following pages contain TIDE and SOLUNAR predictions for Galveston Channel (29.3166° N, 94.88° W).

T12

T4

T11

T10

TIDE PREDICTIONS are located in the upper white boxes on the Calendar Pages. Use the Correction Table below, which is keyed to 23 other tide stations, to adjust low and high tide times.

T13 T7

T6 T5 T17

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY is shown in the lower color boxes of the Calendar pages. Use the SOLUNAR ADJUSTMENT SCALE below to adjust times for points East and West of Galveston Channel.

T15 T16

AM & PM MINOR phases occur when the moon rises and sets. These phases last 1 to 2 hours.

T14 T18

AM & PM MAJOR phases occur when the moon reaches its highest point overhead as well as when it is “underfoot” or at its highest point on the exact opposite side of the earth from your positoin (or literally under your feet). Most days have two Major Feeding Phases, each lasting about 2 hours.

T19

PEAK DAYS: The closer the moon is to your location, the stronger the influence. FULL or NEW MOONS provide the strongest influnce of the month.

T20

PEAK TIMES: When a Solunar Period falls within 30 minutes to an hour of sunrise or sunset, anticipate increased action. A moon rise or moon set during one of these periods will cause even greater action. If a FULL or NEW MOON occurs during a Solunar Period, expect the best action of the season.

T21

TIDE CORRECTION TABLE Add or subtract the time shown at the right of the Tide Stations on this table (and map) to determine the adjustment from the time shown for GALVESTON CHANNEL in the calendars.

KEY T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 T6

PLACE Sabine Bank Lighthouse Sabine Pass Jetty Sabine Pass Mesquite Pt, Sab. Pass Galveston Bay, S. Jetty Port Bolivar

HIGH -1:46 -1:26 -1:00 -0:04 -0:39 +0:14

LOW -1:31 -1:31 -1:15 -0:25 -1:05 -0:06

KEY PLACE HIGH Galveston Channel/Bays T7 Texas City Turning Basin +0:33 +3:54 T8 Eagle Point +6:05 T9 Clear Lake +10:21 T10 Morgans Point T11 Round Pt, Trinity Bay +10:39

T22 T23

View TIDE PREDICTIONS for all Texas Coastal Tide Stations and DATES at...

www.FishGame.com • M A R C H

2 0 0 9 /

T E X A S

LOW +0:41 +4:15 +6:40 +5:19 +5:15

KEY PLACE T12 Pt Barrow, Trinity Bay T13 Gilchrist, East Bay T14 Jamaica Beach, W. Bay T15 Alligator Point, W. Bay T16 Christmas Pt T17 Galveston Pleasure Pier

HIGH +5:48 +3:16 +2:38 +2:39 +2:32 -1:06

LOW +4:43 +4:18 +3:31 +2:33 +2:31 -1:06

KEY T18 T19 T20 T21 T22 T23

PLACE San Luis Pass Freeport Harbor Pass Cavallo Aransas Pass Padre Island (So. End) Port Isabel

SPORTSMAN’S DAYBOOK IS SPONSORED BY:

NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION

I16

TIDE PREDICTIONS are shown in graph form, with High and Low tide predictions in text immediately below. SOLUNAR ACTIVITY data is provided to indicate major and minor feeding periods for each day, as the daily phases of the moon have varying degrees of influence on a wide variety of wildlife species.

T9 T8

T3 T2 T1

F i s h

&

G a m e ® / A L M A N A C

HIGH -0.09 -0:44 0:00 -0:03 -0:24 +1:02

LOW -0.09 -1:02 -1:20 -1:31 -1:45 -0:42


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NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION BEST:

= Peak Fishing Period

7:45-9:40 AM

= FALLING TIDE = RISING TIDE = DAYLIGHT HOURS = NIGHTTIME HOURS

Fishing Day’s Best Good Score Graph Score Score

MONDAY

WEDNESDAY

 24

23

THURSDAY

25

FRIDAY

SATURDAY

26

27

Set: 6:12p Set: 5:13p

Sunrise: 6:47a Moonrise: 6:28a

Set: 6:13p Set: 6:09p

Sunrise: 6:46a Moonrise: 6:58a

Set: 6:14p Set: 7:06p

Sunrise: 6:45a Moonrise: 7:27a

Set: 6:15p Set: 8:03p

Sunrise: 6:44a Moonrise: 7:58a

Set: 6:15p Set: 9:02p

Sunrise: 6:43a Moonrise: 8:30a

AM Minor: 3:42a

PM Minor: 4:04p

AM Minor: 4:24a

PM Minor: 4:46p

AM Minor: 5:08a

PM Minor: 5:29p

AM Minor: 5:53a

PM Minor: 6:14p

AM Minor: 6:40a

PM Minor: 7:03p

AM Major: 9:53a

PM Major: 10:16p

AM Major: 10:35a

PM Major: 10:57p

AM Major: 10:53a

PM Major: ——-

AM Major: 11:38a

PM Major: 12:03p

AM Major: 12:29a

PM Major: 12:52p

6a

12p

Moon Overhead: 12:58p

Moon Overhead: 12:16p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

Moon Overhead: 1:41p

6p

12a

6a

12p

12a

6a

12p

MAR 1

Set: 6:16p Sunrise: 6:42a Set: 10:04p Moonrise: 9:07a

Set: 6:17p Set: 11:09p

AM Minor: 7:32a

PM Minor: 7:55p

AM Minor: 8:27a

PM Minor: 8:52p

AM Major: 1:20a

PM Major: 1:44p

AM Major: 2:14a

PM Major: 2:40p

Moon Overhead: 3:13p

Moon Overhead: 2:26p

6p

SUNDAY

28

Sunrise: 6:48a Moonrise: 5:57a

Moon Overhead: 11:32a

= New Moon = Fi r s t Q u a r te r = Fu l l M o o n = Last Quarter = Best Day

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

Tides and Prime Times for MARCH 2009

TUESDAY



12a

    

Moon Overhead: 4:04p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 11:54p +2.0

BEST:

-1.0

Moon Underfoot: 1:20a

BEST:

BEST:

12:00-2:10 PM

12:40-2:50 PM

Moon Underfoot: 2:49a

Moon Underfoot: 3:38a +2.0

BEST:

BEST:

BEST:

1:25-3:30 PM

2:25-4:20 PM

3:20-5:30 PM

TIDE LEVELS

10:40AM-1:15PM

Moon Underfoot: 2:03a

TIDE LEVELS

0

Moon Underfoot: 12:37a

BEST:

10:15AM-12:30PM

+1.0

Moon Underfoot: None

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

1:40 AM 9:15 AM 4:40 PM 9:15 PM

0.99 ft -0.33 ft 0.93 ft 0.66 ft

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

2:35 AM 9:43 AM 4:51 PM 9:44 PM

0.99 ft -0.23 ft 0.92 ft 0.52 ft

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

3:30 AM 10:12 AM 5:03 PM 10:17 PM

0.99 ft -0.09 ft 0.90 ft 0.36 ft

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

4:28 AM 10:43 AM 5:13 PM 10:52 PM

0.99 ft 0.08 ft 0.88 ft 0.18 ft

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

5:31 AM 11:16 AM 5:18 PM 11:31 PM

0.98 ft 0.29 ft 0.87 ft 0.00 ft

High Tide: 6:44 AM 0.98 ft Low Tide: 11:50 AM 0.52 ft High Tide: 5:15 PM 0.89 ft

Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

12:16 AM 8:10 AM 12:23 PM 5:01 PM

-0.17 ft 0.99 ft 0.76 ft 0.96 ft

KEYS TO USING THE TIDE AND SOLUNAR GRAPHS TIDE LE VEL GRAPH: Yellow: Daylight Tab: Peak Fishing Period Green: Falling Tide Blue: Rising Tide Red Graph: Fishing Score

12a

6a

BEST:

7:05-9:40 PM

12p

6p

SOLUNAR AC TIVIT Y: 12a

AM/PM Timeline Light Blue: Nighttime

MINOR Feeding Periods (+/- 1.5 Hrs.)

AM Minor: 1:20a

PM Minor: 1:45p

AM Major: 7:32a

PM Major: 7:57p

Time Moon is at its Highest Point in the 12a Sky

Moon Overhead: 8:50a

Gold Fish: Best Time Blue Fish: Good Time

AM/PM Timeline

Moon Underfoot: 9:15p

6a

12p

6p

MOON PHASE SYMBOLS

    

MAJOR Feeding Periods (+/- 2 Hrs.)

12a

A L M A N A C / T E X A S

Time Moon is Directly Underfoot (at its peak on opposite side of the earth)

F i s h

&

= New Moon = First Quarter = Full Moon = L a s t Q u a r te r = B es t Da y

G a m e ® / M A R C H

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0

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NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION BEST:

= Peak Fishing Period

7:45-9:40 AM

= FALLING TIDE = RISING TIDE = DAYLIGHT HOURS = NIGHTTIME HOURS

Fishing Day’s Best Good Score Graph Score Score

MONDAY

TUESDAY

3

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

4

Set: 6:19p Sunrise: 6:40a Set: 6:18p Sunrise: 6:39a Moonrise: 10:39a Set: 12:16a Moonrise: 11:37a Set: 1:21a

Set: 6:17p Set: None

AM Minor: 9:25a

PM Minor: 9:53p

AM Minor: 10:26a

PM Minor: 10:55p

AM Minor: 11:27a

PM Minor: 11:58p

AM Minor: 12:03a

AM Major: 3:11a

PM Major: 3:39p

AM Major: 4:11a

PM Major: 4:40p

AM Major: 5:12a

PM Major: 5:42p

AM Major: 6:11a

12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

6

6a

7

8

Set: 6:20p Set: 3:20a

Sunrise: 6:36a Moonrise: 3:00p

Set: 6:21p Set: 4:09a

Sunrise: 7:35a Moonrise: 5:08p

Set: 7:21p Set: 5:52a

PM Minor: 12:27p

AM Minor: 12:54a

PM Minor: 1:24p

AM Minor: 1:48a

PM Minor: 2:17p

AM Minor: 3:39a

PM Minor: 4:06p

PM Major: 6:42p

AM Major: 7:09a

PM Major: 7:39p

AM Major: 8:02a

PM Major: 8:31p

AM Major: 9:52a

PM Major: 10:20p

Moon Overhead: 8:02p 12a

SUNDAY Daylight Savings Begins

Sunrise: 6:37a Moonrise: 1:49p

Sunrise: 6:38a Set: 6:19p Moonrise: 12:41p Set: 2:23a

Moon Overhead: 7:00p

Moon Overhead: 5:59p

SATURDAY

5

Sunrise: 6:41a Moonrise: 9:49a

Moon Overhead: 5:00p

FRIDAY

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 10:00p

Moon Overhead: 9:03p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 11:53p 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

2

Tides and Prime Times for MARCH 2009

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 4:32a +2.0

-1.0

Moon Underfoot: 7:31a

Moon Underfoot: 8:33a

BEST:

BEST:

BEST:

BEST:

BEST:

3:30-5:25 PM

4:00-6:20 AM

5:25-7:20 PM

6:20-8:15 PM

7:25-9:30 PM

Moon Underfoot: 9:32a BEST:

8:10-10:25 PM

Moon Underfoot: 11:27a +2.0

BEST:

10:00-11:59 PM

TIDE LEVELS

0

Moon Underfoot: 6:29a

TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

Moon Underfoot: 5:29a

Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

I18

1:09 AM 9:59 AM 12:51 PM 4:41 PM

-0.31 ft Low Tide: 2:12 AM 1.03 ft High Tide: 4:26 PM 0.97 ft 1.07 ft

• M A R C H

2 0 0 9 /

-0.42 ft Low Tide: 3:26 AM 1.18 ft High Tide: 4:04 PM

T E X A S

F i s h

&

-0.50 ft Low Tide: 4:45 AM 1.26 ft High Tide: 3:09 PM

-0.57 ft Low Tide: 6:00 AM 1.29 ft High Tide: 3:13 PM

G a m e ® / A L M A N A C

-0.60 ft Low Tide: 7:06 AM 1.27 ft High Tide: 3:25 PM Low Tide: 8:15 PM

-0.59 ft High Tide: 12:04 AM 1.20 ft Low Tide: 9:03 AM 0.99 ft High Tide: 4:39 PM Low Tide: 9:32 PM

1.12 ft -0.50 ft 1.12 ft 0.78 ft

+1.0

0

-1.0


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NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION BEST:

= Peak Fishing Period

7:45-9:40 AM

= FALLING TIDE = RISING TIDE = DAYLIGHT HOURS = NIGHTTIME HOURS

Fishing Day’s Best Good Score Graph Score Score

MONDAY

TUESDAY

9

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

 11

10

FRIDAY

12

SATURDAY

13

14

15

Sunrise: 7:34a Moonrise: 6:14p

Set: 7:22p Set: 6:30a

Sunrise: 7:32a Moonrise: 7:18p

Set: 7:22p Set: 7:05a

Sunrise: 7:31a Moonrise: 8:19p

Set: 7:23p Set: 7:37a

Sunrise: 7:30a Moonrise: 9:20p

Set: 7:24p Set: 8:09a

AM Minor: 4:27a

PM Minor: 4:52p

AM Minor: 5:14a

PM Minor: 5:38p

AM Minor: 6:01a

PM Minor: 6:25p

AM Minor: 6:50a

PM Minor: 7:14p

AM Minor: 7:42a

PM Minor: 8:05p

AM Minor: 8:35a

PM Minor: 8:59p

AM Minor: 9:30a

PM Minor: 9:55p

AM Major: 10:40a

PM Major: 11:05p

AM Major: 11:26a

PM Major: 11:50p

AM Major: ——-

PM Major: 12:13p

AM Major: 12:39a

PM Major: 1:02p

AM Major: 1:30a

PM Major: 1:54p

AM Major: 2:23a

PM Major: 2:47p

AM Major: 3:17a

PM Major: 3:42p

Moon Overhead: NoMoon

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 1:31a

Moon Overhead: 12:44a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

Sunrise: 7:29a Set: 7:24p Moonrise: 10:21p Set: 8:43a

SUNDAY

Moon Overhead: 2:18a

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Sunrise: 7:28a Set: 7:25p Moonrise: 11:22p Set: 9:18a

Moon Overhead: 3:52a

Moon Overhead: 3:05a 12a

6a

12p

6p

Sunrise: 7:27a Set: 7:25p Moonrise: NoMoon Set: 9:57a

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 4:42a 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

Tides and Prime Times for MARCH 2009

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 12:19p +2.0

BEST:

-1.0

BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 3:28p

BEST:

12:00-23:00 AM

12:20-2:50 AM

Moon Underfoot: 4:17p

Moon Underfoot: 5:07p +2.0

BEST:

BEST:

BEST:

1:00-3:40 AM

2:10-4:20 AM

2:50-5:10 AM

TIDE LEVELS

12:00-1:40 AM

Moon Underfoot: 2:41p

TIDE LEVELS

0

Moon Underfoot: 1:54p

BEST:

10:40-11:59 PM

+1.0

Moon Underfoot: 1:08p

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

I20

2:34 AM 9:55 AM 4:54 PM 10:04 PM

1.16 ft -0.34 ft 1.04 ft 0.53 ft

• M A R C H

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

3:50 AM 10:42 AM 5:09 PM 10:42 PM

2 0 0 9 /

1.19 ft -0.12 ft 0.99 ft 0.28 ft

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

T E X A S

5:00 AM 11:26 AM 5:23 PM 11:21 PM

F i s h

&

1.21 ft 0.14 ft 0.96 ft 0.07 ft

High Tide: 6:08 AM 1.21 ft Low Tide: 12:02 AM Low Tide: 12:07 PM 0.41 ft High Tide: 7:16 AM High Tide: 5:38 PM 0.96 ft Low Tide: 12:46 PM High Tide: 5:48 PM

G a m e ® / A L M A N A C

-0.09 ft 1.19 ft 0.65 ft 0.97 ft

Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

12:44 AM 8:28 AM 1:22 PM 5:52 PM

-0.18 ft 1.16 ft 0.85 ft 1.01 ft

Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

1:30 AM 9:51 AM 1:46 PM 5:26 PM

-0.20 ft 1.13 ft 1.01 ft 1.06 ft

+1.0

0

-1.0


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Tides and Prime Times for MARCH 2009 MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

16

19

SATURDAY

20

SUNDAY

21

22

Set: 7:26p Sunrise: 7:23a Set: 11:27a Moonrise: 2:10a

Set: 7:27p Sunrise: 7:22a Set: 12:17p Moonrise: 2:58a

Set: 7:28p Set: 1:11p

Sunrise: 7:21a Moonrise: 3:41a

Set: 7:28p Set: 2:07p

Sunrise: 7:20a Moonrise: 4:20a

Set: 7:29p Set: 3:04p

Sunrise: 7:18a Moonrise: 4:55a

Set: 7:29p Set: 4:01p

PM Minor: 10:50p

AM Minor: 11:19a

PM Minor: 11:44p

AM Minor: ——-

PM Minor: 12:11p

AM Minor: 12:36a

PM Minor: 1:00p

AM Minor: 1:23a

PM Minor: 1:47p

AM Minor: 2:07a

PM Minor: 2:30p

AM Minor: 2:48a

PM Minor: 3:11p

AM Major: 4:12a

PM Major: 4:37p

AM Major: 5:06a

PM Major: 5:32p

AM Major: 5:58a

PM Major: 6:24p

AM Major: 6:48a

PM Major: 7:13p

AM Major: 7:35a

PM Major: 7:59p

AM Major: 8:19a

PM Major: 8:42p

AM Major: 9:00a

PM Major: 9:22p

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 7:13a

Moon Overhead: 6:23a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 8:03a 12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 9:40a

Moon Overhead: 8:52a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 10:25a 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

FRIDAY

AM Minor: 10:25a

Moon Overhead: 5:32a

12a

 18

17

Sunrise: 7:26a Set: 7:26p Sunrise: 7:24a Moonrise: 12:21a Set: 10:40a Moonrise: 1:17a

THURSDAY

= New Moon = Fi r s t Q u a r te r = Fu l l M o o n = Last Quarter = Best Day

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 5:57p

0

-1.0

Moon Underfoot: 8:28p

Moon Underfoot: 9:16p

Moon Underfoot: 10:03p

BEST:

BEST:

BEST:

BEST:

BEST:

BEST:

4:00-6:50 AM

4:50-7:10 AM

5:40-7:35 AM

6:30-8:35 AM

7:30-9:05 PM

8:10-9:55 AM

Moon Underfoot: 10:48p +2.0

BEST:

8:50-11:10 AM TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

Moon Underfoot: 7:38p

TIDE LEVELS

+2.0

Moon Underfoot: 6:48p

Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

2:22 AM 11:50 AM 1:24 PM 4:12 PM

-0.18 ft Low Tide: 3:24 AM 1.12 ft High Tide: 4:12 PM 1.11 ft 1.13 ft

-0.12 ft Low Tide: 4:40 AM 1.19 ft High Tide: 4:33 PM

-0.06 ft Low Tide: 5:59 AM 1.22 ft High Tide: 4:44 PM

-0.03 ft Low Tide: 1.21 ft High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

7:05 AM 4:23 PM 10:19 PM 10:49 PM

-0.01 ft Low Tide: 7:56 AM 1.17 ft High Tide: 4:04 PM 1.06 ft Low Tide: 9:15 PM 1.06 ft

0.01 ft 1.14 ft 1.01 ft

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

12:47 AM 8:36 AM 4:02 PM 9:03 PM

1.09 ft 0.06 ft 1.12 ft 0.90 ft

+1.0

0

-1.0


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NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION BEST:

= Peak Fishing Period

7:45-9:40 AM

= FALLING TIDE = RISING TIDE = DAYLIGHT HOURS = NIGHTTIME HOURS

Fishing Day’s Best Good Score Graph Score Score

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

 24

23

THURSDAY



25

FRIDAY

SATURDAY

27

26

28

Sunrise: 7:17a Moonrise: 5:27a

Set: 7:30p Set: 4:58p

Sunrise: 7:16a Moonrise: 5:58a

Set: 7:30p Set: 5:55p

Sunrise: 7:15a Moonrise: 6:28a

Set: 7:31p Set: 6:52p

Sunrise: 7:14a Moonrise: 6:58a

Set: 7:32p Set: 7:52p

Sunrise: 7:13a Moonrise: 7:30a

Set: 7:32p Set: 8:54p

Sunrise: 7:11a Moonrise: 8:06a

AM Minor: 3:28a

PM Minor: 3:50p

AM Minor: 4:07a

PM Minor: 4:29p

AM Minor: 4:47a

PM Minor: 5:08p

AM Minor: 5:29a

PM Minor: 5:52p

AM Minor: 6:16a

PM Minor: 6:40p

AM Major: 9:39a

PM Major: 10:01p

AM Major: 10:18a

PM Major: 10:39p

AM Major: 10:58a

PM Major: 11:19p

AM Major: 11:40a

PM Major: 12:03p

AM Major: 12:04a

PM Major: 12:28p

Moon Overhead: 11:10a

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 12:37p

Moon Overhead: 11:53a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 1:21p 12a

6a

12p

6p

6a

12p

6p

29

Set: 7:33p Sunrise: 7:10a Set: 10:00p Moonrise: 8:48a

Set: 7:33p Set: 11:07p

AM Minor: 7:08a

PM Minor: 7:34p

AM Minor: 8:06a

PM Minor: 8:34p

AM Major: 12:55a

PM Major: 1:21p

AM Major: 1:52a

PM Major: 2:20p

Moon Overhead: 2:59p

Moon Overhead: 2:08p 12a

SUNDAY

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 3:54p 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

Tides and Prime Times for MARCH 2009

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 11:31p +2.0

BEST:

-1.0

BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 1:44a

BEST:

10:40AM-1:20PM

BEST:

11:05AM-1:50PM

12:00-2:25 PM

Moon Underfoot: 2:33a

Moon Underfoot: 3:26a +2.0

BEST:

BEST:

1:05-3:20 PM

2:00-4:10 PM

TIDE LEVELS

10:00AM-12:30PM

Moon Underfoot: 12:59a

TIDE LEVELS

0

Moon Underfoot: 12:15a

BEST:

9:20-11:54 AM

+1.0

Moon Underfoot: None

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

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1:58 AM 9:10 AM 4:08 PM 9:15 PM

1.14 ft 0.13 ft 1.10 ft 0.74 ft

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High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

3:00 AM 9:43 AM 4:17 PM 9:39 PM

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1.19 ft 0.24 ft 1.09 ft 0.56 ft

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

T E X A S

3:58 AM 10:17 AM 4:27 PM 10:09 PM

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1.26 ft 0.38 ft 1.08 ft 0.37 ft

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

4:56 AM 10:53 AM 4:35 PM 10:42 PM

1.32 ft 0.54 ft 1.08 ft 0.17 ft

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

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5:55 AM 11:32 AM 4:40 PM 11:20 PM

1.38 ft High Tide: 6:59 AM 1.42 ft 0.73 ft Low Tide: 12:12 PM 0.93 ft 1.10 ft High Tide: 4:39 PM 1.15 ft -0.02 ft

Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

12:02 AM 8:11 AM 12:53 PM 4:30 PM

-0.18 ft 1.45 ft 1.13 ft 1.23 ft

+1.0

0

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Tides and Prime Times for MARCH 2009 MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

30 SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SATURDAY

2 Sunrise: 7:06a Set: 7:35p Moonrise: 12:40p Set: 2:15a

3

SUNDAY

4

5

Sunrise: 7:04a Moonrise: 1:48p

Set: 7:36p Set: 3:06a

Sunrise: 7:03a Moonrise: 2:56p

Set: 7:37p Set: 3:50a

Sunrise: 7:02a Moonrise: 4:01p

Set: 7:37p Set: 4:28a

AM Minor: 9:09a

PM Minor: 9:38p

AM Minor: 10:15a

PM Minor: 10:45p

AM Minor: 11:20a

PM Minor: 11:51p

AM Minor: ——-

PM Minor: 12:23p

AM Minor: 12:52a

PM Minor: 1:21p

AM Minor: 1:46a

PM Minor: 2:13p

AM Minor: 2:34a

PM Minor: 2:59p

AM Major: 2:54a

PM Major: 3:24p

AM Major: 3:59a

PM Major: 4:30p

AM Major: 5:05a

PM Major: 5:36p

AM Major: 6:08a

PM Major: 6:38p

AM Major: 7:07a

PM Major: 7:35p

AM Major: 7:59a

PM Major: 8:26p

AM Major: 8:46a

PM Major: 9:11p

Moon Overhead: 4:53p

12a

 APR 1

31

Set: 7:34p Sunrise: 7:08a Set: 7:35p Set: 7:34p Sunrise: 7:07a Set: NONE Moonrise: 10:31a Set: 12:14a Moonrise: 11:33a Set: 1:17a

FRIDAY

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 6:55p

Moon Overhead: 5:54p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 7:56p 12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 9:46p

Moon Overhead: 8:53p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 10:36p 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

Sunrise: 7:09a Moonrise: 9:36a

THURSDAY

= New Moon = Fi r s t Q u a r te r = Fu l l M o o n = Last Quarter = Best Day

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 4:23a

0

-1.0

BEST:

3:40-6:10 AM

BEST:

4:50-6:55

Moon Underfoot: 7:26a

Moon Underfoot: 8:25a

BEST:

BEST:

6:10-8:20 PM

7:15-9:30 PM

Moon Underfoot: 9:20a BEST:

8:00-10:15 PM

Moon Underfoot: 10:12a +2.0

BEST:

8:50-10:35 PM TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

BEST:

3:00-5:20 PM

Moon Underfoot: 6:25a

TIDE LEVELS

+2.0

Moon Underfoot: 5:23a

Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

12:51 AM 9:33 AM 1:35 PM 4:14 PM

-0.28 ft 1.46 ft 1.30 ft 1.33 ft

Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

1:48 AM 11:11 AM 2:26 PM 3:51 PM

-0.33 ft Low Tide: 2:54 AM 1.48 ft High Tide: 1:00 PM 1.42 ft 1.43 ft

-0.33 ft Low Tide: 4:09 AM 1.50 ft High Tide: 2:04 PM

-0.29 ft Low Tide: 5:29 AM 1.50 ft High Tide: 2:33 PM

-0.22 ft Low Tide: 6:45 AM 1.44 ft High Tide: 2:51 PM Low Tide: 8:32 PM

-0.12 ft High Tide: 12:21 AM 1.36 ft Low Tide: 7:52 AM 1.05 ft High Tide: 3:06 PM Low Tide: 8:43 PM

1.19 ft 0.03 ft 1.27 ft 0.81 ft

+1.0

0

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GPS for Cavemen AVE YOU EVER LONGED FOR SOMETHING simple in an over complex, gadget-ridden world? I have, and it is often when I am trying to figure out how to work some new type of electronic gadget. If I want to play a DVD, I call Tristin, my 5-yearold granddaughter. I still wonder what was wrong with eight-track tapes and transistor radios. Not long ago, I was testing one of Bushnell’s new Onyx 350 GPS units. This is a miracul o u s G P S , with maps that overlay and tells you whether the land on the other side of that fence is national forest, BLM, national park, state park, or private property. It will do everything but dance and carry your canteen. I ordered one with rapture in my heart, since I have often needed to know exactly what it is supposed to tell me. I kept it a couple of weeks, spent hours playing with it, and sent it back. To be brutally honest, I was not smart enough to figure it out. If you are a modern outdoorsman, with all the knowledge necessary to make the Onyx 350 or its big brother, the Onyx 400, do what they are capable of, they are exactly what you need for wilderness orienteering, or any kind of orienteering, for that matter. I sincerely wish I had the ability to work one of them, but I have given up, defeated and dejected.

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A few months later, I received an email notice of the introduction of the Bushnell Backtrack GPS. The message said it was simple enough even a moron like me (or a caveman, to plagiarize a popular insurance commercial) could use it. I doubted it, but ordered one for testing on the off chance they were right. Well, they were right. The instruction booklet is six pages, only four of which actually contain instructions. Compare this to the thick book required by some of the more advanced units. On top of that, the instructions are simple and easy to understand. This GPS receiver has two buttons. The right button turns the gadget on and off, and changes the function. The left button sets the waypoints. It has a digital compass and three possible waypoints. Icons (a house, an automobile, and a star) designate the waypoints. That’s it. I turned on the Backtrack, stepped outside, waited for the icon that tells me the machine is tracking the appropriate satellites to stop flashing, set the waypoint that looks like a house, and went for a stroll around the pasture. Each time I looked at the Backtrack, there was a little triangular arrow pointing at my house and three numbers telling me how far away it was in American yards. It was right every time. When I am out in the brush, all I want to know is which way and how far is it to camp. If I shoot a deer or elk, I want to mark the location and get back to it. If I am hunting or fishing in the mountains of the Western United States and leave my truck to hike into a wilderness area, I simply want to know how to get back to my truck. The Backtrack tells you all this with the greatest simplicity. Thank you, Bushnell! Everyone I have shown the Backtrack said something like, “Finally!” The Bushnell Backtrack runs on two AAA batteries and is about the size of an extra-large pocket watch. It is the answer to the prayers of many. F i s h

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Contact: Bushnell, www.shopbushnell.com —Steve LaMascus

866-255-8406,

Daiwa 100 PA— A Zillion Times Better Crankbait anglers need a reliable, steady reel with plenty of torque and precision casting, and that’s why Daiwa designed their new Zillion 100 PA casting reel with a 4.9:1 gear ratio that brings in 22 inches of line with every crank. Those cranks will be smooth and wobble-free, too, thanks to the “swept-back” handle design, which moves the grips closer to the rod’s centerline to combat wobble. When I tried using the Zillion 100 PA to toss Rat-L-Traps to largemouth holding on a submerged hump, I discovered this design does seem to make for a smoother retrieve. What boosts the smooth factor even more is the use of six ball bearings in the reel plus one roller bearing. The reel is comfortable in the hand, too, weighing in at a mere 8.8 ounces. Despite the compact design, it holds a reasonable amount of line: 120 yards of 14-pound-test, or 100 yards of 16-pound-test. I found on-thewater

adjustments easy to do singlehandedly. The star drag is right at your index finger tip, and the way each arm of the star is angled in, it is easy to grab them with your finger—even when a


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fish is on the line and your adrenaline is pumping. The spool adjustment, meanwhile, is on a grooved rotor right by your thumb. Again, you can adjust it without moving your right hand away from the crank, or using your left hand at all. Speaking of the left hand, southpaws will be happy to learn that the Zillion 100 PA is available in a left-handed model, tagged the Zillion 100 PLA. When I gave this reel a workout, it was hitched up to the matching Zillion casting rod, the TDZ701 MHFB, a 7-foot triggergrip rod rated for 10- to 20-pound-test line. The entire rig is astonishingly light; it feels like an ultralight. Anglers chucking lures rated for 12- to 17pound-test will really like this rig, especially when they experience the astonishing sensitivity of the rod’s bias graphite construction; it let me feel each and every bouncing pellet careening inside the Rat-L-Trap’s rattle chamber. Contact: Daiwa Corporation, 562) 8029589, www.daiwa.com —Lenny Rudow

Page I25

Then I noted a difference at the pump; not a huge difference, but when I filled up the noStarTron tank, it would take a hair more than the treated tank by about a gallon per 50-gallon fill-up. That’s a small enough difference to account to other factors, but if it’s a coincidence, it’s one I hadn’t noticed before. If you lay up your boat for long periods, note that StarTron stabilizes fuel by improving octane and removing water, varnish, and gum. Though I cannot confirm nor deny the claim from my own testing, StarBrite claims

StarTron can boost the octane rating of old fuel by as much as three points. The enzymes also clean the fuel by “eating” microbe growth and breaking water down into microscopic clusters. Unlike other fuel additives, which often use alcohol and detergents to treat water in the fuel, StarTron isn’t hard on fuel lines and seals. An 8-ounce bottle treats about 16 gallons of fuel per ounce. Contact: StarBrite, 800-327-8583, www.starbrite.com —LR

StarTron—Fuelish Intent It’s tough to assess the effectiveness of fuel additives, so I tested the latest and greatest in gasoline treatments, StarBrite StarTron for several months with a pair of Honda 90s before I thought I could put my foot down and say, “Yes, this is stuff is good enough to run through your precious outboards.” StarTron is unlike other additives because it is an enzyme-based solution. The enzymes naturally modify the way fuel burns by changing the hydrocarbon’s molecular structure. It allows more oxygen molecules to attach to the fuel, improving the burn and boosting efficiency. The better burn reduces carbon buildup on piston crowns and exhaust valves, while also removing deposits from injectors, valves, pistons, and spark plugs. As long as StarTron is in the system, it prevents carbon deposits from forming, too. I tried testing it by running one of the twin 90s with StarTron and the other without on a power cat with two separate fuel tanks (one for each motor.) After about a month, I first noticed the difference with my ears, as the StarTron treated motor simply sounded smoother and quieter. A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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MINOX Scopes Out Photos, Video MINOX has opened a whole new world for hunters and outdoorsmen with introduction of their all-new DCM digiscoping system – a digital camera, video, monitor and eyepiece all combined in one compact unit. Fitted to a quality spotting scope, the DCM

MINOX all-in-one scope: digital camera, video, monitor and eyepiece. (Digital Camera Module) provides a fast, simple solution for taking digital photos and video footage through a scope. Simply fitted to the scope’s eyepiece bayonet, this optics innovation is an ideal combination of a digital camera with normal functions, a 2-3/8” high-resolution monitor and an eyepiece all in one. Best of all, no additional equipment, such as brackets or special adapters, is needed to get into practical digiscoping. MINOX design-engineers have successfully bridged the separate worlds of high-performance optics and digital camera technology to create this compact, lightweight, affordable package. The DCM is convenient to carry because it weighs less than one pound and measures only about 2-5/8”x2-1/4”x23/4”. The large screen allows more than one person to view the subject at the same time, and also see the pictures taken or being I26

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taken. It’s like a powerful telephoto lens, and the 5-megapixel camera is multi-compatible – with five different bayonet fittings now available for high-quality scopes from Zeiss, Leica, Swarovski and Kowa, as well High-end boat builder Champion Boats as the MINOX MD 62 series. Using the has added an exciting new category to its MINOX MD 62 Spotting Scope, with a lineup - the 25 Center. Designed for saltfocal length of 440mm, the magnification is water fishing enthusiasts, the 25 Center 40X. provides tournament level specs and ChamWatertight and shock-proof, the DCM pion’s versatile rough water handling while can be used in adverse weather conditions, delivering the smooth dry ride that Champiand it’s built to stand up to rough outdoor on owners expect. use if necessary. A convenient, built-in “flipMeasuring 25 feet in length and a 102” up” lens hood protects the TFT monitor beam, Champion created a wide-open castand operating controls when being carried ing deck and plenty of storage for the touror stored, and even more important it serves nament level fisherman that likes to bring all as an anti-dazzle shield when in use, prehis gear. Great for the family as well, the venting reflections on the viewfinder. The 2larger console includes an optional porta3/8” monitor serves not only as the potty and can be used for additional storage. viewfinder but also for fine adjustments of Rated at 400 horsepower, the 25 Center the normal camera functions and for checking images after shooting. Remote control for zoom, shutter release, change between image and video, and video operation. Digiscoping with the MINOX DCM offers great advantages to a wide range of users. Hunters can see game Champion’s new 25Center from far away, and take pictures or video footage at the same time. can be rigged with single or twin outboards. Other outdoorsmen can observe from a safe For added reliability, Champion uses a 6 distance and still capture sharp images, rich gauge trolling motor wiring system with a 50 in detail. To store images, this exceptional AMP breaker along with manual reset camera has an internal memory of 128 MB, water-proof breakers and exclusive to Chamand a port for SD memory cards with up to pion, BIOS 5” digital gauges. Additional 4 GB capacity. Power is provided by a top brand components include a 2000 replaceable, high-capacity lithium-ion bat- GPH auto/manual bilge pump; center front tery. And the DCM comes complete with storage with a 5 gallon bucket recess and battery, remote control and soft pouch. raw water wash down with dual outlets for front and rear; Teleflex Sea Star Pro MAP is $399. MINOX/USA, P.O. Box 123, Meri- Hydraulic Steering; and a 10” R & R manual jack plate. den, NH 03770 Fax: (603) 469-3471 Phone Number: (866) 469-3080 www.minox.com

Champion Extends Premium Lineup

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Z-Man “Da Man” for Bass in 2009 SwimmerZ: Swim baits are all the rage for bass, and the Z-Man® SwimmerZ is the “swimmingest” of all with its tri-axis action. Because it floats, a SwimmerZ can be rigged and worked myriad ways, making it the most versatile swim bait you can tie on your line. Adding to the lifelike action are the pair of prominent 3-D eyes and beautiful painted, molded scale finish. The SwimmerZ comes in 4-inch

SwimmerZ

(4 pack) and 6inch (3 pack) sizes and is available in 10 strike-provoking colors. A custom Z-Man Trigger Hook is included with each pack of SwimmerZ. For additional information about the outstanding Z-Man® brand products, phone (toll-free) 800-822-3398, or visit www.zmanfishing.com

10X NWTF Turkey Hunting Vest The collaboration between Cleburne, Texas-based Walls Outdoors and the National Wild Turkey Federation has produced the best of all worlds for the avid turkey hunter: an affordable, officially-sanctioned hunting vest that delivers the functionality of true-blue Walls workwear, with all the handy features to help any sportsman bag the best bird. Made of quality lightweight Realtree APG HD cotton-blend camo mesh for maximum breathability, the Walls 10X® NWTF vest has an enclosed spine drop down and retractable seat pads (with water resis-

Page I27

tant closed cell foam) for comfort, a concealed blaze orange flag for safety, and a spacious quick- release Velcro rear gamebag with a blood-proof liner for transport. Hunters will particularly appreciate the plentiful pockets inside and out for storage and common calls, including 2 diaphragm with snap closures, striker pocket, box call with a cinch cord, slate call pocket, 2 lower bellows with snap flaps and inside shell loops, with 2 large zippered patch pockets. The Walls 10X® Turkey Vest features the embroidered NWTF logo and is available in M/L, XL and 2XL at Bass Pro Shops and hundreds of independent retailers nationwide. It can be purchased online for $49.99 at www.walls.com or by calling Customer Service at 800-433-1765.

shells with Pattern Density Technology™, “fill in the blanks” in your pattern so you cleanly kill birds you might otherwise have missed or crippled. “It’s just one more example of how ENVIRON-Metal® products put the odds of success on your side in the field,” said Ron Petty, VP of Sales and Marketing. “And hunters will love the price”. HEVI-Metal ™ shells come in affordable 25 count boxes that allow all of us who are watching our budgets to get superior performance on ducks and geese.

The Power of Lite The “New” Troutmaster LiteTM series rods feature “New” Power LiteTM 85 Million Modulus Hybrid/Graphite blanks. Equipped with “NEW” SS304 Titanium coated stainless steel guides, Tour Grip XLTTM handle systems, and “New” Precision TouchTM reel seats, the Troutmaster LiteTM series rods are extremely light weight, ultra sensitive and super tough. Casting models come in lengths 6’5”, 6’6” 6’9” and 7’0”. Spinning models are 7’0” in length. Both model series are available in Medium-Light and Medium actions. For more information, go to www.americanrodsmiths.com or call 713466-7849.

HEVI-Metal Packs a Lethal Punch Environ-Metal, Inc., makers of HEVIShot ® high performance shotshells, announced today a new tune in shotshell science: HEVI-Metal™ Waterfowl Loads using just-released Pattern Density Technology™. These shotshells put 20% more lethal pellets on-target at 40 yards than any steel ammunition. Waterfowl hunters are aware of the limitations of steel waterfowl shotshells; after 40 yards, the steel shells all run out of either pellets on target or energy. ENVIRONMetal’s breakthrough Pattern Density Technology™ solves this problem by boosting the pellet count of steel shotshells with newly perfected HEVI-Metal™ pellets. The new, high-energy, high-density HEVI-Metal™ pellets dramatically boost the effectiveness of the shotshell, and deliver on average 20% more lethal pellets on birds at 40 yards. HEVI-Metal™

Scout 245 XSF The all-new Scout 245 XSF is a forward seating model delivering the ultimate in sportfishing action and performance without sacrificing comfort or style. The 245 XSF measures 24’5” long with a wide beam of 8’6”. This power packed center console also contains a 125-gallon fuel tank, which allows anglers to get to the fishing grounds and back with unprecedented range. The technologically-advanced fuel

HEVI-Metal shot

NWTF turkey vest from 10X

Continued on Page I-29 A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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Hoffpauir Outdoor Superstore N 2007, LEE HOFFPAUIR DECIDED HE WOULD like to add an ATV/UTV store to his holdings. After all, he was an outdoors person and knew a good off-road vehicle when he rode one. The opportunity presented itself in Goldthwaite when a small dealership was open to selling. The dealership previously averaged eight units a month in sales. At the end of 2008, average sales had jumped to 60 units per month, nailing down top Polaris dealership honors in Texas for Hoffpauir. On the national scene, final sales numbers for 2008 were not available as of the writing of this report, but Hoffpauir was predicting top honors on the national scene as well: “If we sell our 50 units this month, which I think we will do, it is going to happen. That will put us over 300 Ranger sales for the year. Only four other dealers have ever achieved this. That should put us at No. 1 in the nation for 2008.” The Goldthwaite store was originally a one-man operation. It is now an eight-person operation. The Superstore has relocated to a 54-acre tract on Hwy. 84. The new 15,000square-foot building includes 4000 square feet of showroom space, plus lots of outdoor display space. Besides Polaris Ranger ATVs and UTVs, the Outdoor Superstore sells many additional power products, including Arctic Cat, Cub Cadet, and Team Joyner USA. Team Joyner USA is a sports utility vehicle. The Cub Cadet product line includes everything from weedeaters and lawn mowers to tractors. If you need a trailer to tow behind

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speed is better. The low-range on the new XP feels like you are in high range on the other 4Wheelers. “Shorter people can get in it and sit down, lean back, and use the full function of the seat and feel comfortable. Lee Hoffpauir (2nd from right) of Hoffpauir Outdoor Superstore They accomplished this with your ATV, UTV, or truck, the Superstore the tilt steering. They have moved the foot sells Big Tex, Texas Brag, Hallmark Cargo pedals more in front of you instead of off to the Trailers, and S&H Cattle Trailers. “Just side, as they previously were located. The about anything anybody could want,” said front suspension has been changed to double Hoffpauir A-arms, making it easier to steer, smoother, Polaris states in their advertising that every- and it gives it more ground clearance. People thing has changed for 2009, with the excep- need to drive a Ranger and see how comforttion of the shifter knob. Buy a new Polaris, able they are. and the company will ship a new knob so that “Everything really stands out. Everything your vehicle is completely new. combined into one great vehicle makes the 4Nick Hamilton, General Manager for the Wheeler ten times better than the previous Hoffpauir Outdoor Superstore, described models. Just get on it and drive it; you will see some of the changes in the Polaris XP: the big difference.” “Power steering is an available option, but The name Hoffpauir is established and even the UTV without power steering steers respected the auto business in Central Texas. better than 90 percent of the UTVs out there. Hoffpauir dealerships include Ford and MerThey have redesigned the front-end suspen- cury in Lampasas, also a Chevrolet, Pontiac, sion geometry to have less kick back on the Buick, and Cadillac store. In Marble Falls, steering when going over rough terrain, hitting you will find the Hoffpauir name on a rocks, jerking your hands back and forth. Chevrolet and Buick dealership. In addition They have changed the rear suspension to to the Outdoor Superstore in Goldthwaite, give it better weight handling. It doesn’t squat Lee Hoffpauir features Cub Cadet and Arcnear as bad with the same load on it as the tic Cat at his store in Burnet and Arctic Cat year before. in Marble Falls. “They have turned the engine sideways to “We have been in Central Texas for 44 give a narrower seat width; your legs aren’t years now, and we couldn’t have stuck around spread as far apart, making a more comfort- this long if we were steering you wrong. I am able ride. It gives twice as much legroom on just proud as I can be about our new store, the the floorboard. The radiators are bigger, run- Hoffpauir Outdoor Superstore. When I ning a lot cooler. bought it, I knew it had some potential, but I “The redesign of the transmission and had no idea it would have the success it has clutch makes for quieter operation, and the had.” F i s h

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Contact: Hoffpauir Outdoor Superstore, 325-648-3341, www.hautogroup.com —Tom Behrens •••

PUMA Gets New North America Distributors Puma GmbH IP Solingen, Manufacturer of PUMA knives, is pleased to announce the appointment of PUMA Knife Company USA as exclusive distributors of the PUMA knife brand in the United States, Canada, and. Industry veterans Bob Carpenter and Chris Lalik are heading the new PUMA North America Company. The new distributors will be located in Overland Park, Kansas. Since it was formed on the Wupper River in 1769, PUMA has set the standard that established Solingen, Germany, as the world’s premier knife manufacturing center. PUMA is, in fact, the eighth oldest trademark in Germany. PUMA has been distributed in the United States since 1957 and has established a strong reputation for high-quality hunting knives. Bob Carpenter, President of PUMA Knife Company USA, has 15 years experi-

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Texas International Boat Show brings the very latest in luxury motor homes, trucks, and custom bikes exhibited alongside Maserati and Ferrari, creating a unique marketplace in a relaxed and leisurely environment. Add to this live music from The Bahamas each day, fashion shows, live bands on stage Friday and Saturday evening, a full blown international wakeboard exhibition and tournament on-the-water along the Corpus Christi Bayfront, plus plenty of fun for the children, and you have the Texas International Boat Show 2009.

ence in the outdoor business at Coast Cutlery. Chris Lalik, Vice President of Marketing and Operations, spent the past 16 years with Bushnell Performance Optics and Meade Instruments. General Manager Harald Lauer said: “We are excited about our new partnership with the PUMA Knife Company USA. The North American market is the biggest knife market in the world, and we look forward to writing the next chapter in the storied history of PUMA in North America.”

Texas International Boat Show

EVENTS - Thursday, 23 April, 10:30 a.m., Opening Ceremony: The Texas International Boat Show will be officially opened by Mayor Henry Garrett at the Corpus Christi Marina, People’s Street T-Head, Corpus Christi. - Friday and Saturday, 24-25 April, 5-7 p.m.: Live evening entertainment from the Budweiser Stage. - Daily: The Wakeboard Tournament and Waterski Exhibition, located on Corpus Christi Bayfront, presented by Texas Ski Ranch, MasterCraft, and Gulf Coast Marine. Sponsors include: Michelob Ultra, CITGO, Coca Cola, GMC, and Whataburger

The Texas International Boat Show, presented by American Bank, now in its third year, will again take place at the Corpus Christi Marina from 23-26 April 2009—a truly international show attracting buyers and sellers from around the world with over 50,000 visitors attending the show in 2008. Together on one of the largest boat show sites in Texas will be 400 boats ranging from 10 to 120 feet, in the water and ready for demo, with another 200 boats exhibited ashore. Along with offering a full range of products and services for the active boating lifestyle, the

NEW PRODUCTS Continued from Page I-27 efficient hull means tremendous fuel savings, and combined with the bow flare assures a very dry and exceptionally smooth ride when slicing through rough seas. This is a serious fishing vessel. The 245 features insulated port and starboard

fish boxes (40 gallons each), an insulated forward cooler (40 quarts) and the forward console seat houses an insulated console cooler (165 quarts). Two bait wells sit port and starboard aft, nine and ten gallons respectively – and there’s even room for a large bucket to fit inside the starboard well.

Diaphresh Teams with Commando Combining an innovative new concept with another quality product is always a good idea. The folks at Diaphresh™ and Commando™ have done just that. First they started with the revolutionary Diaphresh™ System, (as seen on the American Outdoorsman & Southern Woods and Waters TV) with its patentpending Field Case, featuring the Reed Rack™. This System entirely and effectively addresses every aspect of diaphragm mouth call use, care and storage. As award-winning writer Steve Sorensen put it (EverydayHunter.com), “there are a number of problems associated with mouth

PHOTO COURTESY OF SCOUT BOATS

SCOUT 245XSF SPECIFICATIONS Length: 24’5” Beam: 8’6” Dry Weight w/o engines (approx): 2,600 lbs Fuel Capacity: 125 gallons Water Capacity: 15 gallons Maximum HP: 300 hp Rec. HP: 225/250 Draft (approx): 17” Deadrise at transom: 20° (NuV3 hull) Waste Holding Tank: 10 gallons TOP: LOGO COURTESY OF PUMA

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Smith & Wesson i-Bolt in .30-06 trolled, litigation-happy age. Almost every gun I have tested in the last few years had far too much creep in the trigger, as if the technician who set it was afraid it would go off. Well, let me tell you a secret: The trigger of a gun is supposed to make it go off. Get real and fix those triggers! This one, however,

HE FIRST TIME I SAW THE SMITH & WESSON i-Bolt was at the SHOT show in January 2008. At first, I thought it was a rather clunky-looking gun, with its square fore end and inset sling swivels. Also, the pistol grip at the wrist was a bit different, looking too long and thin, with the grip cap extended farther than normal below the bottom line of the buttstock. Still, when I put the gun to my shoulder, it felt good. When I returned from SHOT, I ordered an i-Bolt for testing. Here is what I found. The camo pattern on the synthetic stock is actually quite attractive as well as functional. The flat-black finish on the metal parts is as functional as any I have seen, as is the one-piece bridge mount that came with the gun. This gun is obviously intended for hard use. I mounted a Leupold VariX III 3.5-10X and began testing. First the negatives: The trigger is too creepy. I have all but given up on getting a good trigger straight from the factory. This is a symptom of our modern, lawyer-con-

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unlike some I have seen lately, is not terribly objectionable and light enough to be shootable, breaking at about 3.5 pounds. It is adjustable from 3 to about 6 pounds with a tool included with the gun, but I didn’t attempt to adjust it. The release from the action is not by a button or spring-loaded retainer, but by simply rotating the bolt clockwise into a slot at the rear of the action. Open the bolt, pull it to the rear until it is in the correct location, rotate the bolt handle down,

and pull the bolt from the gun. One problem did appear with this system; several times, when I was shooting the gun from the bench, I worked the bolt to chamber another cartridge, and

NEW PRODUCTS Continued from Page I-29 call use, this little item solves them all”. The slim, ruggedly designed Field Case fits neatly into your vest, holds 3 of your favorite diaphragm mouth calls, and separates the reeds on all of them. Even 4-reed calls. Then they added the Commando™ Hot Hen Mouth Call. With a super raspy sound, this triple reed call makes great

clucks, cutts, and flydown cackles. Plus it’s effortless to use. PHOTO COURTESY OF DIAPHRESH

But making a good idea into a great one is what innovation is all about. So they decided to throw in the Commando™ Hot Hen Mouth Call for FREE. Available now, buy a Diaphresh™ System and receive a FREE Commando™ Hot Hen Mouth Call. To purchase online and see their complete line of products including their combination Pro Pack Series, visit w w w . d i a p h r e s h . c o m or www.commandthewild.com.

Diaphresh and Commando team up to offer a great mouth call system. I30

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as I pushed the bolt forward, it dropped accidentally into the bolt release slot rather than pushing another round into the chamber. I don’t want the bolt released until I decide to release it. I want it sliding forward and backward as smoothly as possible, without binding. This needs to be changed, since it could happen when the buck or bull of a lifetime is in your sights—or worse, when that bear is about to start chewing on your bootlaces. Additionally, when I tried to put one of my slings (equipped with Uncle Mike’s quick-release sling swivels) on the gun, the swivels would not go into the studs. The problem turned out to be that the studs were too thick, and the gap between the swivel pin and the point where the spring-loaded closure plate is attached was too small. There is no way that this was tested or it would have been obvious. I tried several different sling and swivel combinations and none would fit. Consequently, the gun went slingless. Other than those things, the gun is quite well put together. I especially like the short bolt-lift and the visible cocking indicator. The Remington-type safety has two safe positions, one where the trigger is disengaged but the bolt is free (which allows clearing the gun with the safety engaged), and one where the bolt is locked. This seems like a very good system, and I like the concept. The recoil pad is thick and soft, with a non-slip finish. Stock-to-metal fit could be better, but is properly fitted in the places that matter. Mechanically, the i-Bolt is a rugged gun, using a push-feed action. The bolt is big and solid, with a Sako-style extractor inset into the side of the bolt head, and a Remingtontype plunger ejector. The three locking lugs on the head of the bolt make for a stiff, solid action that should give long service and good accuracy. The barrel, made by Thompson/Center, is 23 inches long and has a 1-in-10 twist. Three-shot groups with various ammunition, including handloads, averaged about 2 inches. Now, understand that this is an average. This gun appeared to like some loads and not others. It loved 180-grain Trophy Bonded Bear Claws, but hated 165-grain Hornady InterLock soft points. It liked 165-grain Nosler Partitions, but not 165grain Hornady SST InterBonds. Groups ran from the smallest of 1.31 inches to the

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largest of 2.9 inches. The gun shot 180grain Bear Claws best (that was the 1.31inch group), averaging less than 1.5 inches. With the 165-grain Nosler Partitions, it averaged just over 1.6 inches. Either of those fine bullets will do about anything you can reasonably ask a .30-06 to do. The model I tested is the i-Bolt. Overall, I think this is a good gun, especially for the modest price. I expect if you buy one, it will give you long and satisfactory service. My downside factors are all rather minor— except for the bolt release problem, which really needs to be remedied—and are outweighed by the gun’s positive attributes. I would therefore recommend this gun for the average deer hunter searching for a good, moderately priced rifle.

STOP USING YOUR RIFLE Any unintended discharge of a firearm has the potential for causing injury, and we ask that you stop using your rifle until we have an opportunity to inspect the bolt to make certain that there is no condition, which will allow the striker to disengage. To facilitate the inspection and repair, if necessary, of your rifle bolt, please contact Smith & Wesson’s customer service department to receive instructions and a call tag for the return of your bolt to Smith & Wesson When you return your bolt to Smith & Wesson, be sure to attach the completed information card received from Smith & Wesson, so that your bolt can be inspected and repaired, and returned to you as quickly and efficiently as possible. When your rifle bolt is returned, you should note a punch dot on the handle of the bolt. This punch dot is confirmation that your bolt has been inspected and is safe to use.

RECALL NOTICE Smith & Wesson has identified a condition that may exist with the bolt supplied with some i-Bolt rifles that would allow the striker to become disengaged from its locking tabs during cycling of the bolt, allowing the rifle to fire without the trigger being pulled. In the interest of consumer safety, we are initiating this recall to allow for the prompt inspection and, if necessary, the repair and replacement of each bolt. This recall applies to the bolts of all iBolt rifles manufactured by Smith & Wesson prior to December 1, 2008.

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Please contact Smith & Wesson directly at 1-800-331-0852 or at ibolt@smith-wesson.com to arrange for the inspection and repair, if necessary, of your bolt. For on-line service, see www.smith-wesson.com.

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It Does Not Taste Like Chicken, But... Chester holds the trophy rattler he killed while hunting with Robert Scherer of American Rodsmiths (right).

NAKE!” The word cut through the night like a laser, illuminating something I already knew: The only thing worse than seeing a diamondback in close quarters is not seeing a diamondback in close quarters. Few things get the adrenaline pumping more quickly than someone shouting that ominous word at the top of their lungs after the sun goes down. Several of us were trailing a large doe my dad shot on American Rodsmiths owner Robert Scherer’s beautiful Brush Country ranch when the spooky discovery was made. I ran quickly over to Nick Dinet, who found the snake slowly slithering through the

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by Chester Moore grass. Considering we had to continue searching the area for the deer, I felt it safer to dispose of the snake with my Glock instead of risking one of us again intercepting it later. Plus, fried rattlesnake is a rare delicacy in the Moore household. The serpent had a girth of 11 inches and the hide, once mounted on a board (and not even stretched), was right at 7 feet minus the head. It is now prominently displayed in my office on a large black velvet-covered board, garnering “oohs” and “aahs” from visitors. It was a truly massive rattler and one of several seen on this ranch during the 2008I32

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2009 hunting season. “We’ve been seeing more snakes than normal this year,” Scherer said. “Every time it gets cold and then warms right back up, the snakes come out, so hunters down in this part of the state should watch out. The snakes are on the move.” On the same trip, I saw a huge Texas indigo snake—or at least part of it crossing a sendero. Some of the body was already in the brush by the time I caught a glimpse, and at least six feet remained within my F i s h

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view. (TF&G editor-in-chief Zaidle once captured an 8-1/2-foot indigo in the same area.) Indigos are a protected species in Texas, and the archenemy of the rattlesnake. I mentioned rattlesnake meat is a rare delicacy in the Moore household, and that is the truth. We like the meat, which is actually quite tasty—but does it taste like chicken? To me, it does not actually taste like fowl, but has a similar texture. Rattlesnake frankly tastes like, well, rattlesnake, and is quite good if you can get past the idea the PHOTO COURTESY OF CHESTER MOORE


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Special Hunting Section creature used to slither on the ground and carried enough venom to wipe out a small family. (Zaidle says rattlesnake tastes like frog legs—which most people say tastes like chicken.) Once the head is off the snake, there is no danger of venom contamination of any kind. The serpents are easy to clean, with the skin coming off quickly to reveal beautiful white meat. We like to chicken-fry it, but some prefer grilling, and I have even heard of rattlesnake gumbo, which even to my exotic tastes does not sound so good. A number of edible creatures bear misconceptions about their table qualities, and feral hog is one of them. Some hunters refuse to eat a boar, saying the meat too strongly flavored to be palatable. In my experience, the meat is fine as long as you handle it correctly, getting it on ice or in a meat locker in short order, and being very cautious to not let hair touch the meat. Alligator garfish is something else that tastes great, but has a very bad image problem. How could something so ugly taste good? Isn’t the meat poisonous? The meat

Trophy Fever is not poisonous but the eggs (roe) are, so if you are planning to make gar caviar, think otherwise. Gar meat is white and has a texture similar to shark, which many coastal residents agree is some of the finest of all meats. Some have asked if there is anything I will not eat. I will never eat two particular animals unless we have some sort of catastrophe, like a nuclear holocaust or a giant meteor crashing into Earth. You know— something that wipes out the world’s food supply. Those animals are opossums and armadillos. When I was a kid, I saw opossum meat and it just looked awful. The person preparing it even admitted it was a bit “greasy,” which caused me to question why they did not simply go buy a burger. Armadillos are a different story altogether. A study conducted by Dr. Richard Truman with the Division of National Hansen’s Disease Programs in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, determined that one in six armadillos found in Texas and Louisiana coastal marshes carry leprosy. The study reported the disease might be

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completely absent among animals found in better-drained areas, but in coastal populations, it is quite common, with some areas showing up to 30 percent infection rates. The National Hansen’s Disease Registry shows that about a third of all leprosy patients had contact with armadillos. The study also details that two case-control studies comparing the armadillo contact history reported by U.S. leprosy patients presenting from areas known to harbor either high or low rates of armadillo leprosy, “failed to show that direct contact with armadillos was an important risk factor for infection.” In other words, the scientific jury is still out on just how serious a threat armadilloto-human leprosy transmission is, but there are obviously indicators. In my opinion, it does not take a genius to figure out very few people eat armadillos, so if there is a high ratio of armadillo contact to leprosy cases, I will forever pass on the Texas icon if served at table. Give me rattlesnake any day of the week. Despite their reputations, at least they do not carry biblical plaques.

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Hunter Kills 27-point… Doe! LAY CENTER, KANSAS, HUNTER MIKE SMITH killed this 27-point doe in December 2008. A Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks spokesman said the department hears of one or two a year. “Female deer periodically will produce

PHOTO COURTESY OF MIKE SMITH

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antlers,” said Lloyd Fox, big game program coordinator for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. “We see it once or twice every year in the state, out of 75,000 deer harvested by hunters.” Smith began hunting at age 14, when his mother bought him a bow. However, he was

using a .25-06 rifle when he saw the doe from his tree stand 100 yards away. The doe ran about 75 yards after the shot. “I’ve never shot a non-typical,” Smith said without irony.

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BUCK—MONTGOMERY COUNTY, TEXAS

BUCK—MONTGOMERY COUNTY, TEXAS

Kyle Jeffreys, 12 years old, bagged this 7-point deer in southwest Montgomery County, Texas. The deer’s spread was 22 inches wide. Kyle’s outfitter was his dad, David Jeffreys.

Korey Jeffreys, age 12, shows off an 8-point deer with a 16-inch spread, taken in Montgomery County. Outfitter was his dad, David Jeffreys.

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Examining the Portable Blind HE PORTABLE BLIND—IS IT A GOOD THING, or overrated in the hunting world? These are some of the questions that have haunted outdoorsmen ever since the pop-up blind was invented. We have all watched the outdoor TV shows that advertise and use these blinds, and most have success with them. I have used them, and must say that they are an undeniable asset for some types of outdoor activities. I have found through trial and error, however, that not all hunting situations are suited to pop-up blinds. Last year, I wrote that for hunting turkey with a bow, these blinds are necessary. For some reason, the birds do not see the big square box in the field, and if they do, pay absolutely no attention to it. This allows the bowhunter to get a very close shot, ending an exciting hunt. Quality ground blinds by companies like Ameristep and Double Bull are flat out awesome for turkey. As of this writing, I have had no success at all hunting whitetails with a pop- up blind, and examined my setup to determine why. On the plus side, these blinds can be set up just about anywhere you choose. They can be tucked up amongst the thickest cover you can find, or just placed in the middle of a field. I would guess that if it were placed in position well in advance of whatever season you hunt, success would not be far

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behind. Some have 360-degree shooting capability, while others have multiple windows from which to shoot. Both have proven to work and work well. Another valuable asset while using this type of blind is the fact that you can film your hunt undetected. I like to bring my own camera operator, but it is not necessary. A small tripod for your video camera works just as well. Movement while in the blind is hidden from the game you are pursuing. This gives you plenty of time to get you and your camera in position for a hunt to remember for years after you leave the field. I have found that it is a great way to introduce a

For some reason, the birds do not see the big square box in the field, and if they do, pay no attention to it.

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child to the outdoor world. While in the blind, they can feel secure near you and move around a bit, as they learn what hunting is all about. For hunters that experience vertigo or just cannot hunt from a tree stand, the portable ground blind is a welcome answer to stay concealed in the woods. To hunt with a bow means that you have to do multiple tasks at the same time, and are totally comfortable while performing these tasks. If your heart is racing because you are nervous being up in the air, your shot will never be true. On the con side, you have to carry a portable blind to your hunting spot. More often than not, these hunting areas are not F i s h

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very close by. It could very well be 3/4 to a mile away from your vehicle. You need to bring a seat of some sort with you as well. Now, consider the weight of the blind itself, the seat, the backpack, the bow or other weapon of choice, and I guarantee that it will not be an easy task. We do hunt to have fun, and lugging a metaphorical ton of equipment is not lot of fun. Even if you set up pre-season and leave the blind there, if a thief does not get it, high winds will. I tied my portable blind to small trees in the woods and found that the wind caved my support bars in and snapped two of them. We all have heard that the woods are deer’s living room, and if we bring an extra couch in, they are going to see it. No matter what I did to hide my blind, the deer stared at it as soon as they stretched their heads into the clearing. I had so many leafy branches on it, it looked like a rain forest. Although I felt it was hidden well, the deer still saw that they had a new couch. I should mention that the hogs were not impressed with my portable blind, either. Even with their limited eyesight, hogs still knew something was not right. Does this mean pop-up blinds never work for deer or hogs? Of course not, but so far, they have not worked for me. Overall, I see these blinds as a good thing. As with anything, however, it has some good points and some bad. However, anything that helps introduce a child to the great outdoors gets my vote. I will get my deer and hogs with other methods. Editor’s Note: For more on pop-up blinds, see the “Hunt like a Ninja” feature elsewhere in this issue.

E-mail Lou Marullo at lmarullo@fishgame.com.


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ZipVac: Keeping Game Fresh OST SERIOUS SPORTSMEN APPRECIATE the advantages of vacuum packaging (less freezer burn, extended storage time, more freshness). I have been vacuum packing the bounty from fishing and hunting trips for many years and was excited when I received an invitation to evaluate the new ZipVac system.

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by Greg Berlocher When my ZipVac arrived, I was a bit surprised how small the box was. My existing vacuum packaging unit has a fairly large form factor, and the ZipVac packaging was a fraction the size and weight of my unit. Unpacking the contents, I discovered a bundle of plastic bags and two air pumps. The plastic bags are three layers of plastic that feature a zip-style opening. A circular purge valve on the side of the bag vents air trapped inside the bag. The bags are so tough they can be dropped into boiling water to warm pre-prepared foods on camping trips. The first pump is a small battery-operated handheld, shaped like a pistol grip. A I38

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110-volt electrical plug folds out of one end of the handle to charge the battery; a removable round nozzle adorned the other end. The nozzle plugs onto the purge valve on the plastic bags and evacuates the air. The battery holds enough power to seal up to 150 bags. The nozzle can be removed for cleaning. The second pump uses a syringe-like plunger to create suction. The manual pump is equipped with the same type nozzle as the electric version. To use the system, open a bag, fill it with your favorite outdoor harvest, pinch the top shut, and then hook up one of the pumps to the purge valve. A few seconds later, most of the air is evacuated. Very simple. The ZipVac system has a number of advantages. The quart- and gallon-size bags are standard sizes, making is easy to judge how much you can put inside. There are also rectangular fillet bags for fish. The ZipVac system allows you to choose how much air you wish to remove from a bag. This is quite useful if you are trying to package delicate foods such as sandwiches. My existing unit relies on a vacuum sensor, and I can’t turn the pump off until it decides it is finished, leaving sandwiches looking as if they were in an accident with a steamroller. The purge valves on ZipVac bags twist open and shut, eliminating the need for a thermal heat-sealing element in the pump. F i s h

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Since the sides of a bag are not melted together with heat, they are reusable, making them much more affordable than single-use bags. The battery-operated pump holds a charge for quite a while, but there will always be situations when you forget to charge it. The manual pump allows sportsmen to use the ZipVac system in the field—a very handy feature, as many hunting camps do not have commercial power or generators. In addition to food storage, you can use ZipVac bags to keep matches, medicine, maps, ammunition, and clothing dry. Evacuating the air from a bag is a definite benefit when space is a premium, as inside a backpack. If I were designing the product, I would change one thing: in lieu of the foldout plug, I would substitute a detachable electric cord. Those who go afield occasionally rather than regularly will probably forget to charge the handheld unit before a trip. You either have to wait for the unit to charge, or and move the filled bags up to the pump while it is plugged into the wall. Most countertops in the U.S. are 24-inches wide; adding a detachable 12-inch electric cord to the pump would allow you to work in the middle of the counter space rather than crowding up against the backsplash if your unit isn’t charged. The ZipVac is smaller, lighter, and easier to use than the thermal vacuum packaging system I have been using. Overall, I give the ZipVac system high marks for ease of use, good design, and cost effectiveness. I highly recommend it to all “consumptive” outdoorsmen. Contact: CTI Industries Corporation, 866-382-1707, www.zip-vac.com

Email Greg Berlocher at fishthis@fishgame.com PHOTOS COURTESY OF ZIPVAC


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What is “Enough Gun?” HE LAUDED WRITER ROBERT RUARK fathered many memorable sayings. The most memorable, which is also the title of one of his books, is probably “use enough gun.” Ruark was writing about hunting African game, but the rule still applies to hunting any game animal. We owe it to ourselves and the animals we hunt to use a gun of sufficient caliber and power to get the job done quickly and cleanly. That does not apply solely to the gun and caliber, but also to the type and design of bullets. When talking deer hunting, the discussion can get very hazy and convoluted. A caliber that is plenty for shooting 70-pound Hill Country does might be terribly underpowered for a North Texas corn-fed monster that might weigh close to 300 pounds. Likewise, a gun perfectly suited for hunting in East Texas thickets, where the average shot is less than 100 yards, might be singularly unsuited for deer hunting on South Texas senderos, or for mule deer in West Texas, where a shot might be halfway to tomorrow. So, the subject is not cut and dried, but a somewhat difficult mix of polar opposites. We still vainly try to determine what gun is best suited as an “all-around” tool for deer hunting; it is a lost cause, but it does make for a lively discussion around the campfire. The best we can do is make educated attempts at determining what is minimal, optimal, and overkill. First, let’s get overkill out of the way. There is never, ever, a valid reason to use any gun more powerful than a .300 mag-

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num on white-tailed deer. If you want to use an elephant gun on Bambi, be my guest, but don’t try to rationalize it and justify it to me. Just admit that it is how you get your kicks and let it go at that. Almost never is a magnum of any kind needed to hunt deer. Magnums do give the shooter a bit of an edge at extreme ranges, but most of us shouldn’t be shooting that far, anyway. Out to reasonable hunting distances, say, 300 yards or a bit more, the standard calibers from .25-06 on up work just as well, kick less, and destroy less meat. If you want to hunt deer with your .22caliber centerfire rifle, jump to it. It is legal in Texas, and I not going to tell you that you can’t do it. However, do not try to convince me that your .22/250 is just as good for deer as my .270, because you are wrong and nothing you say is going to change the facts. The .22s are intended as varmint calibers, period. With the right bullets, perfect bullet placement, and under controlled conditions, they will kill deer like Thor’s hammer. But, one slip anywhere along the line and you

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have a wounded deer. I know—I’ve been there. As a matter of cold, hard fact, the last deer I shot in the 2007 season was with a .223—and it got away wounded. We never found it. It was my fault. Had I used a bigger gun, I might have collected the deer. I was testing bullets made for deer, and the only way I know to do that is to use them on game. I don’t like it, but it’s part of my job description. That time, the deer paid the price. I will try this bullet again before I make any firm determinations of its capabilities, but I will be much more selective of the shots I take. If you are looking for an all-around gun, the best advice is buy one of the old standards, such as .30-06, .270, .280, or 7mm Remington Magnum. The 7mm Remington Magnum is smallest of the currently available magnums. A magnum in name only, I consider it a standard caliber, in the power range of the .30-06. By “magnum” I

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Outboard Troubleshooting 101 O YOU REMEMBER THE DAYS WHEN YOU could pop the cowl on your outboard and understand what you saw? The carburetor, fuel pumps, air filters, and spark plugs were like old friends, and you knew how to make them happy. Today, however, the puzzle of wires, hoses, and computer chips is overwhelming. If you want to fix a simple problem with a modern internal combustion engine, you need a laptop computer and an engineering degree...or do you. In reality, you can diagnose and fix the majority of on-the-water outboard problems with basic troubleshooting knowledge, simple tools, and opposable thumbs. Electrical problems are among the most common reasons we call the towboat. The motor will not turn over or it surges and misses. First, let’s assume you have a fully charged battery. If not, there truly is not much you can do short of calling for help. To determine if the battery is your problem, try tilting the outboard up and down with the electric trim switch. If it moves at the usual rate of speed, you know you have plenty of juice. But what if nothing happens when you turn the key? Yes, yes, I know you are an experienced boater and already made sure the throttle is in neutral, but do it again.

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Even if it looks right, shift into and out of gear once or twice, listen for the clicks, and be sure it is in neutral. You would be amazed at how often boaters are “rescued” with this simple fix. If that fails, try turning the key and holding it down while you jiggle that throttle again, as temperamental safety switches need to be finessed just so. Your next suspect should be the connections at the battery and at the starter. If you see any green or white crud, you have probably found the problem. Remove the wires, make sure the connections are perfectly clean by scrubbing them off with a wire brush, and tighten them back in place. If you get a crank but the motor will not catch and run, this could be the kill switch. Even if the lanyard clip is in place, the switch might prevent starting. This often happens when the switch is horizontal on top of the helm station, which allows water to pool on top of and eventually get into the switch, causing a short. Luckily, on most engines it is easy to disable the switch. Look for a black wire with a yellow stripe that leads to the ignition, and disconnect it. Try the key again. Fuel issues are another reason why outboards might fail to start, miss, or run intermittently. These problems can be tough to

solve on the spot, particularly if they relate to a complete absence of fuel. Even the best of us have run the tanks dry at one time or another. Remember that marine fuel gauges are notoriously unreliable, and always double-check your fuel supply before leaving the dock. If you cannot get the motor running and you know there is fuel in the tank, the first step is to make sure it is getting to the motor. The easiest way to do so is to look at the primer ball. If it is tightly sucked in and collapsed, you might have a blocked fuel vent not allowing air to displace the fuel leaving the tank. This is a common occurrence when running a small motor on a portable fuel cell, which has a thumbscrew type of vent. Boaters often close the vent after a day on the water, and then forget to re-open it on the next trip. If the primer ball is full in size but easy to squeeze and does not get hard as you pump it, then you probably have air getting into the system. The most common cause is a leaky fuel line, sucking in air or spurting fuel, or you might also have a bad connection at the tank or where the fuel line meets the outboard. Finally, check your filters and water separators. If these are clogged, that can also prevent fuel from getting to the motor. If you think you have water in the fuel on multi-tank boats but you do not have enough fuel in any one tank to get home on, try this trick: Partially open the valve between the tanks so the motors draw from one more than the other. You might find that one tank is problematic and the other is not, and you

GUNS & GEAR Continued from Page I-39 mean the big .300s and such. Anything in this power range that fires a bullet of above about 110 grains at a velocity of above about 2800 feet per second is perfectly adequate for 99.9 percent of all deer huntI40

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ing—not just in Texas, but danged near anywhere. This argument is never going to be settled, and I’m glad. It would be deathly boring if we could say with certainty that one specific cartridge and rifle combination was the best. Our children’s great-grandF i s h

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children will argue which is better—a laser, phaser, or maser. And that is just as it should be.

E-mail Steve LaMascus at guns@fishgame.com.


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might discover that you can try different “mixes,” get it running, and head for home. Cooling systems are another part of your outboard that might be fixable on the water. Always keep your eye on the telltale, and make sure your water flow is adequate. If the telltale is not peeing yet the motor appears to be operating normally, you probably have some grit clogging the port. To open it up, thread heavy monofilament fishing line through the telltale and spin it around. This is enough to break most minor clogs free. If the telltale is not peeing and the temperature alarm starts ringing, you have a more serious problem. Luckily, a blocked intake, which is the most common cooling problem, is the easiest to fix. After shutting down, tilt the motor up and make sure the intakes are clear. An impeller gone bad is the next most common way to lose your cool. The best way to solve this problem is to avoid it by regularly changing the impeller and thoroughly flushing your outboard with freshwa-

You can fix the majority of on-the-water problems.

ter after every saltwater run. This keeps the flexible arms of the impeller in good condition. The temperature gauge is going berserk, and you are positive the cooling system is functioning just fine. If you have a directinjection two-stroke, check your oil pump and make sure it is feeding oil into the mix. The problem could also be a stuck thermostat. Sometimes you can pop them free, scrub off any grit that has them clogged, and get back on task. If you are unsure if this is the problem but can make it back to the dock, you can troubleshoot the thermostat back at home. Remove it from the engine and use a pair of tongs to hold it in a pot of water placed on the stove. Put a thermometer in the pot as well, and watch the temperature rise as you turn up the heat. If the thermostat does not open at the correct temperature (refer to your owner’s manual to find out what it is for your specific outboard),

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then you know it needs to be replaced. If it does open, something else is amiss. Vibrations are another cause for concern, and your prop usually holds the answer. Bent blades or large dings and chinks can cause the boat to shake hard enough to rattle your fillings. If you carry a file onboard, you can perform some emergency repairs by just filing down the offending sections of the propeller. It will not be perfect and you will probably have to live with a certain amount of vibration until returning to shore, but it should be less noticeable. Make sure you reduce speed and go home at a crawl if necessary to eliminate all that shaking. Run hard with excessive vibrations, and there is a good chance you will do serious damage to other parts of the boat or engine. Motor mounts are also surprisingly common culprits when this issue crops up. You would not think to check them often, but when excessive vibrations start shaking your boat apart, look at the motor mounting bolts and the mount itself. One telltale noise is a loud, single “crack” when you throttle up. It is the sound of the threads on the motor mount bolts, snapping across fiberglass as they are mashed through the holes. To fix this problem, simply make sure the nuts and washers are flush with fiberglass, and if anything has backed off, take a wrench to it. Mysterious sounds can also be alarming at times, and here is one troubleshooting trick you can use to identify problems that are tough to diagnose. When you hear a funny noise coming from the engine but you cannot isolate it, use a screwdriver as a stethoscope. Simply put the tip of the driver up against the different parts of the engine and put your ear next to the handle and the screwdriver will magnify the sounds, helping you to figure out exactly where they come from. Of course, this is a basic guide to outboard troubleshooting, and we have touched only on the issues you can address while on the water. However, when you are having trouble away from the dock, you will discover that 80 or 90 percent of the time, one of the problems mentioned above will be the reason. Now, you know how to fix them.

E-mail Lenny Rudow at boating@fishgame.com.

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Hale’s words resonated deeply within me. Wonderful memories came flooding back of times I spent with my dad in our 10-

Paddling Your Children EVERAL WEEKS AGO, I WAS WAIST-DEEP IN Easy Going, an anthology of Leon Hale’s newspaper columns, originally printed back in 1983. Hale, the grand old man of Houston newspapers, has written for both the Houston Post and Houston Chronicle for more than 50 years. He writes a delightful column, chronicling junkets to small towns and discussions with interesting people he meets. Hale is a master wordsmith with a gift for capturing the essence of any situation. His recount of a fishing trip with his children gave me to considerable pause, prompting reminiscences of times with my dad and my children. Hale wrote: The best time I spent fishing was with my kids. I loved to put them in the boat and let one of them run it and I would sit up in front and when the motor was shut down, I’d be a human troll motor. Paddle them, quietly, to likely places. Swing the boat so a cast could be made up into a still pool. I loved doing that. They thought it was strange. Why do you want to paddle for us all the time? Don’t you want to fish? Had you rather paddle than fish? But I knew something they didn’t— that in a short time, such a very short time, they would be gone, and gone forever, and I would never have them again, not in that special way that I had them all to myself in that little boat, and I was right, I never have. You can never paddle for them again, not really, after they leave.

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foot johnboat, him paddling me slowly around Pine Lake, encouraging me as I made awkward motions attempting to cast


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flies with a buggy whip, fiberglass fly rod. Dad rarely paddled with both hands, preferring to scull with one arm draped over the end of the boat, moving the paddle in a repetitive figure-eight pattern. The gentle push of the paddle nudged the boat along ever so slowly, allowing us to cast repeatedly to toppled trees sulking in the shallows, and other strategic targets. Sculling left his other arm free to cast flies, dropping them repeatedly within a foot of the sunken treetops or the emerald green

You can never paddle for them again, not really, after they leave.

reeds that lined the bank. Periodically, he would set the hook on a bull bream or little bass, setting the paddle down in one smooth motion to begin stripping in fly line. I can still hear him chuckling to himself over the bent rod: “Well, what do we have here?” The size of the fish was never important, nor was missed strikes. My family had a history of fishing from small boats, many rented, all aluminum. Single-bladed paddles were the propulsion system of choice on the vast majority of our outings—no oil to mix, no batteries to hoist, no noise. Indeed, life was simple, and so were the lessons. My two sons grew up much more quickly than I wanted. It seems like yesterday that my youngest wasn’t strong enough to paddle his kayak across Fence Lake, his forward progress halted by a stiff coastal breeze. The man-child now stands 6-foot-4, and tips the scales at 270 pounds. College scouts in need of offensive linemen are starting to show up at football practice. Trust me when I tell you that size-16 wading booties are hard to find. Some of my most cherished childhood memories came from a 10-foot hole in the water, with Dad at one end and me at the other. Likewise, as a parent, I have come to

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prize those special times when one son or the other and I were alone together in a kayak or canoe. Fishing rods were always present, but the catch wasn’t as important as the perspective. Canoes, tandem kayaks, and johnboats are great for building family bonds. Gasoline and electric motors certainly have their place, but they add a level of complexity to an outing. Paddles keep things simple. It is hard to decide whether paddling a youngster around for several hours is more

rewarding for parent or child. Either way, you create memories that last a lifetime. Hale was right when he said you can’t paddle your kids around anymore once they grow up. You don’t know how much I miss it.

Email Greg Berlocher at kayak@fishgame.com.


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Loops and Hooks OOPS AND HOOKS IS AN UNDERUSED combination in our offshore, inshore, and bay fishing. The basis is the surgeon’s loop, which is easy to tie, and has a knot strength somewhere around 97 percent of the mono to which it is tied. The surgeon’s loop forms after doubling back the end of your mono and tying a double overhand knot in both strands, positioned so that it gives the loop length of choice. As with any mono knot, moisten with saliva before pulling tight. The path you take through the hook eye with this loop is very important. Always pass the loop through from the bend side of the hook. When looped around the shank as shown in the illustration, a number of good things happen as the line comes tight at the strike. With a big fish pulling on the hook and your line coming tight against your rod’s upsweep and reel drag, the loop pushes the eye down and rotates the hook point for faster penetration. This rotation occurs with J-style or circle hooks. The hook point-loading angle of pull will definitely increase your strike-to-hookup percentage. See the illustration for a look at how the hook point angle changes in relation to line pull with the loop through from the bend side and from the backside. Multiple wraps of mono around the hook shank are shown in the illustration. This has the effect of knotting the mono on the shank and against the hook eye. All of the looped mono views in the illustration are before tightening, after passing the loop through the hook eye from the bend side. Make the first twist in the loop and pass the loop over the bend side of the hook.

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Twist it again and pass the loop back over the hook bend. Twist it again and pass it over the bend for the last time. Now, snug the wraps a bit, keeping an even pull on both strands of the loop. The wraps should now look like those shown enlarged in the illustration. Carefully tighten after lubricating. You will end up with a secure, pointrotating connection that has a safety factor built in. Should one strand of the loop break or be cut during the fight, the knotted wraps will hold and the fight can continue on the single mono strand. Note in the illustration that the first mono “X” on the shank has the mono strand at the top of the “X,” passing through the eye on the gap side of the eye. When tightened, this will keep that mono strand away from this gap area. This is not a problem with heavy mono, but with lighter stuff, it could come into play. The top of the illustration shows a Carolina rig using a stop knot ahead of the dulled egg weight, a 6- to 8-turn Uni-Knot. F i s h

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I use white cotton string for this stop knot; at times, camouflaging it using a blue MarksA-Lot to reduce the flash of white. I recently found another material that does a better job: blue knitting yarn, which is inexpensive and works perfectly. Free-lined, this rig works well with an assortment of baits on just about anything near the surface to however far down the bait choice will take it. From the near surface to the bottom, on all the species that live there, except for the toothy ones that require luck to be on your side, these mono loop-tohook rigging variations will take them all. They are not magic bullets, just simple rigging that works. If you have not put these loop and hook combinations in your tackle package, do it before your next outing.

E-mail Patrick Lemire at saltrigs@fishgame.com.

ILLUSTRATION BY PATRICK LEMIRE


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Swimming Worm

have “borrowed” a few from him from time to time, and they are outstanding when

monofilament leader (as always, the leader should be made from lighter line than your

T HAS OFTEN BEEN SAID THAT THOSE OF US who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Sometimes, that’s not really a bad thing. Those of us who have not been around for over a half-century have never known life without plastic worms in a rainbow of colors—some that resemble nothing in nature—but our fathers and grandfathers probably still recall the first time they walked into a bait shop and saw a worm wrapped in plastic rather than in a cup of dirt. Those first worms looked nothing like what we have today; they were roughly worm-colored instead of something called “Atomic Chicken.” Many came pre-rigged with multiple hooks, beads, and in-line spinners. The pre-rigged worms were used to swim the bait through shallow water instead of probing structure, and are all but extinct today with the advent of Texas, Carolina, and drop-shot rigs, but there are still instances where a swimming worm is more effective than just about anything in the water. Instead of adding more weight to your tackle bag by purchasing pre-rigged worms (if you can find them), you can make a few with items you already own. I am a firm believer that big baits catch big fish, and a fan of oversized worms. This is especially true when using a swimming worm because, in my mind, the swimmer more closely resembles a snake than a worm. Once upon a time, Crème (the original worm manufacturer) marketed an enormous worm called the Crème Giant. These are no longer available, but a friend made a mold of one of the few he had remaining, and now he occasionally pours them for himself. I

rigged to swim. Find the biggest worm you can (more lure manufacturers are starting to offer them) for your swimming rig. When done right, a swimming worm doesn’t just swim straight back to you, but can be made to spin, dart, and make other movements that can tangle your line. So, the first part of a swimming rig is a barrel swivel that attaches to your main line. On the other side of the swivel, attach a short

main line). I prefer a shorter leader, which helps in casting accuracy, but anything up to 18 inches should work just fine. On the end of this first leader (yes first; we’ll get to the second one in a minute), tie a 3/0 worm hook. Here is where the second leader comes in. To the eye of this first hook, tie another short leader (3-6 inches long)

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sprayed with Jack’s Juice crawfish scent. Make fan casts to secondary points in creeks or spawning flats. This allows you to cover an area quickly and continue moving until you find fish. My next choice is a spinnerbait. I like the Firetiger XPS Laser Eye in 1/2- to 3/4ounce with nickel and gold combination blades in big sizes, like a No. 5 or 6 willowleaf. I always slow-roll these baits around the clumps or over the top of thicker grass.

Big is Better “B

IG IS BETTER” IS A VERY POPULAR saying, and it has relevance in the world of bass fishing. This month, big bass are in shallow water on a big feeding binge, gladly taking big baits. You can draw a line 40 feet off the bank and follow the contour with your Raymarine DS600X, staying in 10 feet of water or less, and you will be in the right zone. This eliminates 95 percent of the surface water, putting the odds greatly in your favor. I prefer starting out with a Carolina rig, which allows you to cover a lot of water. I use a 7-foot Extreme Woo Daves XTR 70 MHT cam-lock extendable butt rod, specially made for Carolina rigging. I rig it with a 7.1 gear ratio Extreme bait-cast reel, Bass Pro Shops 17-pound fluorocarbon line, 3/4ounce Lindy No-Snagg Rattlin’ weight, and a 2/0 or 3/0 Mustad Big Bite hook. I finish this off with an 8-inch Zoom lizard in Green Pumpkin with a chartreuse tail,

I prefer starting out with a Carolina rig, which allows you to cover a lot of water.

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Next, I look for cover such as buck brush and laydowns, again slow-rolling around the cover. The key to catching big bass with a spinner is fishing it slow. Big bass are not going to chase fast-moving bait, so if you have problems, add a Zoom Fat Albert grub as a trailer to help slow your bait. Big crankbaits are necessary in March,

and a shallow to medium runner is all you need. I use Bagley’s Balsa B with chartreuse or red on it, a Bass Pro Shops Nitro shallow crank, and XPS Knocker Shad in chrome/blue. Again, you need to fish these lures slowly with a lot of stop and go retrieves or twitching, keeping the bait in a confined area as long as possible. I fish these lures on a medium-light rod for the best action. I always put Mustad triple grip hooks on crankbaits. You are playing second fiddle with any other hook on your crankbait. I hear more stories from anglers losing bass on crankbaits than anything else. Last but not least, is a bunch of jigs in black/blue and Green Pumpkin colors. I am looking for big bass and I using bulky jigs. This is not the time for finesse jigs, so I want a big bulky one falling down in front of Big Mamma. Jigs are so good because you can put them right in the middle of the heaviest cover, and fish them slowly to accurately imitate a crawfish, a favorite spring food of bass. A 1/2-ounce jig is my No. 1 choice, and I am going to have the biggest chunk that Zoom makes as a trailer. Good luck this spring with the big bass, and remember two things: Fish slowly for the big bite, and fish big lures.

FRESHWATER BAITS & RIGS Continued from Page I-45 and attach another worm hook, this time using a 1/0. Shorter worms require short leaders, while long worms can handle a long second leader. There are a couple ways to attach the worm to the hooks, depending on the type of water you are fishing. In open water with very little danger of snagging grass or brush, you can simply run the first hook through the nose of the worm a few inches I46

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before bringing it back out so that the hook is exposed. Repeat this step with the second hook farther down the body of the worm. If you are fishing grass or brush, then rig the hooks as you would on a Texas rig, with the tip pushed back into the worm so that it will not snag. The amount of action imparted on the worm has less to do with your rod tip and more to do with the amount of worm you have between the first and second hooks. If you want the bait to just move slightly, rig

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it straight. If you want it to roll more, then rig the second hook farther back in the body to put a slight bend in the worm. While the swimming worm is typically a shallow water rig, it can also be used to probe a few feet deep. To get it down deeper, just crimp a split shot on the first leader a few inches below the barrel swivel. E-mail Paul Bradshaw at freshrigs@fishgame.com.


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Joey Nania Takes Jr. Bassmaster OEY “DA FISH” NANIA, AGE 17, “THE HAPPIEST angler on Earth,” captured his second Junior Bassmaster World Championship, winning the 2008 Junior Bassmaster Championships held on Geary County State Lake, Kansas. Joey and five other highly skilled divisional champions from the U.S. and Canada battled temperatures in the low 30s at launch time. Joey towed his Nitro Z7 from Action Marine Northwest 1500 miles to Kansas with his father so he could pre-fish Geary, a move that paid off. The first fish of the day came early in the morning on a Stanley jig coupled with a Team All-Star rod and Pflueger Summit reel. Unfortunately, it measured 1/8-inch short of the 15-inch limit. “I must have measured that fish 10 times just trying to get the tail to touch, but it was just that short,” he said. Since the bite was slow, Joey picked up his go-to equipment—an All Star 7-foot rod with a Pflueger President reel, 10-pound McCoy Mean Green mono, and a Spro Little John crankbait, and set out to crank up a win with a reaction bite. After another two hours of cranking the rocky bottom of Geary, the first of his two-fish legal hit—a beautiful 2-pound, 1-ounce, smallmouth. “I heard there were supposed to be smallies in here, but didn’t see one the entire time I pre-fished,” Joey said. “This one surprised me as it swiped at my crankbait. It was such a soft bite, I had to gradually slide it into the boat.”

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After that, the fishing in the Northwest under got even tougher, with extreme conditions. 20-mile-per-hour winds Joey’s ability to stay and clouds. After anothfocused brought success er three hours of crankin the form of two fish for ing, Joey nailed a 2a total weight of 4 pound largemouth. pounds, 1 ounce to take “I’ve been in these sitthe lead. With two uations before, so I knew anglers left to weigh in, that when the bite is Keith Alan, BASS tough, you just have to Tournament master of keep with it, make a lot ceremonies, put Joey on of casts, cover water, and the proverbial hotseat on work every cast as carethe BASS Elite stage. fully as possible,” Joey The final two anglers said. “The largie hit my came to the scales withSpro Little John out any fish for their crankbait with just 10 efforts. Joey’s bag netted minutes left in the comhim the tournament win Joey Nania wins his second Junior petition. I have to admit, for a $5000 college Bassmaster World Championship. I yelled pretty loud after scholarship as well as the that one. I was really pleased with my equip- Purolator Big Fish Award, and an addiment. The Pflueger reels worked flawlessly tional $1000 scholarship. Triton, Mercury, all day long in some pretty cold weather. All and Lowrance sweetened the pot by awardI had to do was think about fishing, stay ing a fully-rigged aluminum bass boat valfocused on that, and ignore my frozen fin- ued at over $8000. gers. Thanks to McCoy Mean Green line, Special thanks to all Joey’s sponsors, backlashes were almost non-existent. That is including American Family Insurance, Live a real advantage in cold weather, because Line Baits, Stanley Lures, Spro, Gamakatpicking out a bird’s nest is almost impossible su, Pflueger, All-Star, Action Marine, with frozen fingers.” Nitro, and McCoy Line. Joey is no stranger to cold weather fishing in many early and late season tournaments

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A PAIR OF ANGLERS FIND SPECKLED TROUT DEVOURING THOUSANDS OF SIX-INCH WORMS IN MATAGORDA BAY

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ishing is full of mystery. The influences of tide, moon, and seasonal patterns on fishing are certainly causes for bewilderment. For seasoned anglers, some of these mysteries might eventually unravel. But with more time spent on the water, new experiences and discoveries might actually create more area of

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uncertainty. Lake Jackson natives, Steven Harlan and his father, Billy “Tinker” Harlan, experienced a rare occurrence last February. During a wintry evening, the duo encountered an enormous swarm of worms—thousands of them—being devoured by speckled trout. The two fishermen had struggled all afternoon to locate a solid big trout bite on East Matagorda Bay’s south shoreline. Daylight was quickly running out as their boat headed back to the harbor. Steven spotted movement on a nearby shoreline; a

dozen seagulls swooped and dive-bombed the water tight to the shoreline. He was confident they were feeding on baitfish fleeing from speckled trout beneath. They chose to wade in order to not disrupt the shallow feeders. “The water was very nervous and we could actually see the trout surfacing. They were very active,” Steven said.

by Kyle Tomek He and his father orchestrated an attack on the fish by spreading apart and surrounding the gulls. Upon stringing the first fish, Tinker said, “Are you seeing all of these worms?” For the first time, Steven noticed 4- to 6-inch

TF&G FIRST worms swarming at their waists. The worms frantically darted and gyrated in all directions, while getting inhaled by energetic fish. “I put my hand in the water and easily grabbed a handful,” Steven said. “The worms were so thick and so active on the surface, it sounded as if it was raining.” The speckled trout had a buffet of squirmy worms to choose from, but Steven and his father continued to catch fat fish on lures. The predators gradually became selective as night fell, and the fish began keying on smell. “Topwaters and normal soft plastics were no longer considered by the trout,” Steven said. “A small, red, soft plastic was the only lure that would draw a strike.” Of the seven fish they cleaned that evening, every fish had a belly full of worms. Dr. Greg Stunz, Marine Biology Professor at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, was the first to comment on what Steven and Tinker encountered: “Based on the worms’ behavior and pictures, I would say they were nereid worms. Commonly known as cinder worms; they are actually common.” Stunz said the cinder worms’ frenzied behavior was a mating ritual: “This typical behavior happens at night under certain conditions, so people don’t actually see it occurring.” According to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi benthic ecologist, Dr. Kim Withers, the name most commonly used for the specialized reproductive stage is “epitoky,” a A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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mode of reproduction unique to polychaete worms (characterized by fleshy paired appendages tipped with bristles on each body segment) in which the worm undergoes a partial or entire transition into a pelagic, sexually reproductive form. “I have seen these worms several times,

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but always at night,” said Baffin Bay angler Paul Cravey. “I have other friends who have seen them in other bays, including Galveston.” Cravey’s first time to see the worms in Baffin Bay was by accident during an outing when he shined his spotlight into the water. He believes that few people know of the worms’ existence in Baffin due to very few anglers regularly using lights or lighted piers. “I have only seen the swarms two or three times over the years,” Cravey said. “They were 3-4 inches long and were pink/red in the middle with white tips of about 1/2- to 3/4-inch long on the ends. Trout seem to like them.” The red and white worms appear in the spring for about two to three weeks. Cravey is confident the worms are responsible for red and white soft plastic lures working so well in springtime.

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Kayak angler Vincent Rinando has similar experiences with the worms in West Galveston Bay: “If you fish West Bay at night around pier lights, you’ll see them occasionally, but not in the same quantities as you will in spring. Spring is when the biggest swarms seem to occur. I’ve only run into them at night under pier lights, and occasionally in very clear water at San Luis Pass. Trout actively feed on them in the lights.” Rinando has caught specks within the swarms on soft plastics, but favors a fly: “A pink and yellow combo speck rig works effectively in them, but nothing beats a pink fly.” Although accounts along the Texas coast are rather scarce, fishing swarms of cinder worms is very common along the East Coast and New England States. Coastal fly-fishermen have the patterns mapped out like clockwork, and fly shops carry an arsenal of


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Although “cinder worms” are common, Texas coastal anglers rarely see them due to their nocturnal hatches and mating behavior.Caption

PHOTO BY KYLE TOMEK

A New England article describes information about the worm swarms: “The new and full moon periods see lower tidal ranges, which expose mud flats where the worms live. When the worms begin to swarm, you will find them along the shorelines in upper estuaries, in shallow rivers, shallow coves, in

small red worm imitations that are dynamite for striped bass—an indication of how prevalent the swarms are along the Atlantic Coast. Similarities arise when comparing Steve and Tinker’s trip to East Coast experiences.

creeks, and on tidal flats where soft mud bottoms exist. Over the grassier bottoms, swarms tend to be less intense, or simply don’t happen at all.” The Harlans’ trip took place just three days after a full moon and above a soft mud bottom. Normally, these swarms form at the same time and same place, year after year. You can bet that Steven Harlan and his father will go back to see if the theory holds true.


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Yankee Doodle Winter Texans and the Texas Outdoors

South Padre Island. The deep-vee of the hull, high gunwales, and large tiller motor seemed more apropos for walleye and pike rather than trout and redfish.

HE BOAT IN FRONT OF US AT THE RAMP didn’t look like any bay boat I had ever seen. That might have been because it was made for fishing around Michigan’s Grand Island rather than

“She might not get as shallow some of them sleds o’ yours,” said Wally Kirkendahl in a thick Midwestern voice that hinted at his Upper Peninsula roots. “She’s good enough to get my wife and me where we want to go,

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though, or I wouldn’t drag her all the way here.” “Besides,” he said with a wink, “I’ll take the conditions on your water over what Lake Superior looks like during a big blow. It’s a lot friendlier down here.”

Heading South Like many other residents of Port Isabel and other coastal towns, Kirkendahl and his wife, Donna, are “winter Texans,” part of a vast and varied group of seasonal tourists PHOTO BY GRADY ALLEN


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who flee colder northern climates for the friendlier weather of South Texas. The vast majority of winter Texans (or “snow birds,” which some consider a derogative term) are retired, older couples. They come south in numbers large enough to have become an important economic resource in many coastal communities. “These winter visitors are of significant economic importance to the region’s economic health,” said Melissa Zamora, spokesperson for the South Padre Island Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Many local businesses rely on winter Texans to round out the tourist season.” Many of the local businesses up and down the South Texas coast are rod-andhook-oriented establishments that provide bait, tackle, ice, and gas to fishermen visiting the area. Winter residents, many from states braced or interconnected by the Great Lakes or the Mississippi River (and hence have deep roots in fishing, hunting, and other outdoor pursuits) thus become a major source of income in the off-season. A mild December day’s visit to Marchand’s White Sands Hotel, Restaurant, and Marina in Port Isabel revealed a dining room full of winter Texans eating breakfast and discussing the day’s plans. The bait shop was crowded with even more of them buying bait, hooks, and other tackle, and discussing where there were the big school of sand trout and whiting were biting. “If the fish can stretch a line and tastes good on the grill, that’s all we need,” quipped one silverhaired lady wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with “Husbands are Good For Killing Bugs and Baiting Hooks.”) “It’s always like this on weekends from December through March,” said Art, a local who is also a White Sands regular. “Sometimes, they run out of live shrimp by nine o’clock in the morning. Quick Stop across the street is the same way, but those are usually the winters who go run up and down the island looking for pompano and redfish.”

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The Gulf Council of the National Marine Fisheries Service had requested that TPWD “modify” its red snapper regulations to be in line with federal guidelines (the now well-known two-fish, 16-inch minimum size limit and April 21-October 15 season). TPWD held four scoping meetings up and down the coast to gauge public response to the proposal. At the Port Isabel meeting, winter Texans made their voices heard. “One of the reasons we come down here is for the red snapper,” said one winter tourist. “If you lower the limits like that, we might as well go to Arizona. There’s no reason to keep coming down here.” Several other members of the audience nodded in agreement. Captain Matt Murphy of Captain Murphy’s Deep Sea Charter Service, who also attended the meeting, shook his head. “If we lose the winter tourist trade, we’ll have to close our doors. They mean that much to our bottom line.” Ultimately, the rule proposal was abandoned and winter Texans keep coming, worldwide recession notwithstanding.

earlier in the fall and staying longer. To many winter Texans, it makes fiscal sense. “We’ve been living down here nine months out of the year,” says Kirkendahl. “The lower cost of living, the lack of a need for heating oil in the winter, the mild weather all add up to us living for less down here than in Marquete (Michigan). We come down in September, and go back in May, just like school kids.” Other winter Texans find alternatives to the expense of hauling big trailers behind 1ton trucks, according to Zamora. “We’ve also seen where many of them are leaving their RV’s and fifth wheels down here, flying down, and flying back home again in the spring.” The result is that dollars from north of the Mason-Dixon Line flow into the Texas coastal economy.

Added Benefit Winter Texans’ benefits to the Texas outdoors are not limited to simple economics. Many groups and clubs—usually related to respective park members associations—offer a substantial contribution to community and environmental causes. Winter Texan groups sponsor beach clean-ups along South Padre Island. Others become involved in local elementary schools and, among other services, teach students about the outdoors and the environment. Winter tourists volunteer to help out in local fish derbies and as park guides. Boy Scout troops also benefit from the wisdom of a venerable former Scout and his stories of days past. “What do you expect from us?” asked Kirkendahl. “We love it down here, and we want to show that. Our home is north, but we live down here.”

Coming Early, Staying Late You would think that the sky-high gas prices of 2008 and global economic woes would most affect retirees, who usually live on a budget. Logically speaking, that would then extend to winter Texans, who would have to curtail their treks south because of the money crunch. The reverse, in fact, might be true. “We haven’t seen any kind of drop-off in winter Texan numbers,” said Zamora. “In fact, we have seen a larger influx of them.” On top of the increase in numbers, Zamora said many northerners are coming

Old Money The economic influence that winter visitors have on the coastal economy stretches beyond simply being a boon for local business. They also serve as a pretty big stick to wield when necessary, as the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department noted during the red snapper scoping meetings of 2007. A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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Ike Damaged Galveston Bay Floor ONDUCTING A RAPID RESPONSE RESEARCH mission after Hurricane Ike, scientists at The University of Texas at Austin surveyed the inlet between Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, discovering the hurricane significantly reshaped the seafloor and likely carried an enormous amount of sand and sediment out into the Gulf. The ongoing research could help coastal communities gauge the effectiveness of their sometimes-controversial efforts to replenish eroding sand along shorelines while revealing the role storms play in building and eroding barrier islands such as Galveston.

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“The big question is whether the sand was entirely removed from the system or if it’s still close enough to the shoreline to get back into the system,” said John Goff, survey team member and senior research scientist at the university’s Jackson School of Geosciences. Goff and Mead Allison, another research scientist at the Jackson School, used the 60foot research vessel R/V Acadiana to conduct a seafloor survey of the Bolivar Roads inlet just a week and a half after Hurricane Ike made landfall on the Texas coast. The inlet is the main passage between the Gulf of Mexico and Galveston Bay, and is the route of the Houston Ship Channel as it passes between Galveston Island to the west and Bolivar Peninsula to the east. The team used sonar to map the depth of the seafloor and seismic instruments to measure the thickness of sediments. The researchers knew the area well, having led a group of university students on a marine geology and geophysics field class to Galveston last summer, collecting the most

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recent pre-Ike seafloor mapping and sample data from Bolivar Roads. “The timing of our previous study was fortuitous, adding to the practical and public benefit of our post-Ike data,” ” said Goff. Hurricane Ike’s surge filled Galveston Bay with 12 feet of water, which subsequently drained back into the ocean as a “back surge.” Although considerable amounts of water flowed over the Bolivar Peninsula and other lower-lying portions of the barrier system, most of the surge and back surge likely passed through Bolivar Roads, by far the deepest access between the Gulf and the Bay. The very high rate of flow that must have passed through the inlet had the potential to cause substantial erosion and transport sediment long distances. Comparing pre- and post-Ike surveys, the scientists determined the hurricane’s surge and back surge significantly modified the seabed over broad areas. Ike erased or substantially degraded large shell-gravel ridges up to 10 feet high. The storm gouged out sediments deposited hundreds of thousands of years ago to create “erosional pits” up to 5 feet deep in one area. It appears to have mobilized and redeposited sediments over large regions in a layer 8-40 inches thick, and in isolated spots up to 6.5 feet thick. Most of the movement of sediments is associated with the back surge. In conducting the post-Ike survey, scientists are primarily interested in investigating the impact of the storm surges on the movement of sediment into and out of the beach barrier system. Maintenance of a barrier system requires an influx of sand, provided naturally by rivers such as the Mississippi. Human modifications to rivers by dams or levees disrupt the delivery of sand to the shore, which can cause the barrier system to degrade. Until now, the transport of sediments during large storms was a poorly known quantity. Surges could potentially boost the barrier island sand budget by delivering sediments to the shore face, or they could subtract from it by moving sand too far off shore


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to be incorporated into the barrier system. The pre- and post-Ike survey work will also identify any storm-affected changes to the inlet channel that could affect navigation. Funding for the survey was provided by the Jackson School’s Rapid Response Program, which funds field research requiring immediate action, in advance of the months it often takes to receive federal or non-profit grant money. Such projects include research into the effects of natural disasters like sinkholes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis. —Staff Report

Massive Jellyfish Swarms in Gulf, Other Locations MASSIVE SWARMS OF STINGING JELLYFISH AND jellyfish-like animals are transforming many world-class fisheries and tourist destinations into veritable jellytoriums that are intermittently jammed with pulsating, gelatinous creatures. Areas that are currently particularly hard-hit by these squishy animals include Hawaii, the Gulf of Mexico, the East Coast of the U.S., the Bering Sea,

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Kingfish Series, the Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series, and the Wal-Mart FLW Striper Series. The final Redfish Series Championship was history making in more ways than one: Texas angler, Blake Pizzolato, fishing with his team partner, Dwayne Eschete of Mandeville, Louisiana, weighed in the heaviest redfish limit in Redfish Series history—two redfish weighing 21.10 pounds—to win the Series-ending event. The Redfish Series and Kingfish Tour originated in 2005; the Striper Series and Kingfish Series in 2006. FLW, headed by Irwin L. Jacobs, originally got into saltwater tournaments because there was an untapped market available. “I think the saltwater circuits were received well and had great involvement from the sponsor side,” said Jeff McCoy of FLW. “However, our core business has always been bass fishing, and we wanted to focus back on that and try to grow the sport through a grassroots aspect. We decided to take the resources from saltwater and dedicate it to the college bass fishing circuit.” The new tournament trail, the National Guard College Bass Circuit, hosted its first tournament in January at Falcon Lake. See the Fish & Game on Campus column in the February issue for more details

Massive jellyfish swarms—some of which cover hundreds of square miles—have caused injuries and even occasional deaths to water enthusiasts, and have caused serious damage to fisheries, fish farms, marine mines, desalination plants, ships, and nuclear power plants. Since the 1980s, jellyfish swarms have cost the world’s fishing and tourism industries alone hundreds of millions of dollars and perhaps even billions of dollars. From large swarms of potentially deadly peanut-sized jellyfish in Australia to swarms of hundreds of millions of refrigerator-sized jellyfish in the Sea of Japan, suspicion is growing that population explosions of jellyfish are being generated by human activities. Human activities that have been suggested by media reports and scientists as possible causes of some jellyfish swarms include pollution, introductions of non-native species, overfishing, and the presence of artificial structures, such as oil and gas rigs. —Staff Report

FLW Drops Salt Tournaments TOURNAMENT KINGPIN FLW, CITING NO OTHER reason than the organization wanted to go back to its core plan, decides to drop the WalMart FLW Kingfish Tour, the Wal-Mart

—Tom Behrens

Unusually large swarms of jellyfishes are “invading” coastlines worldwide. Mediterranean Sea, Australia, Black Sea and other European seas, Sea of Japan, North Sea, and Namibia. PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL DAWSON, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, MERCED

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of the bed, we folded our hands, and I concentrated my focus where the nightlight met the shadows. Then we spoke in unison.

Amen THE NIGHTLIGHT RADIATED AN HOURglass glow against my bedroom wall. Shadows filled the corners and dusky shapes lurked on top of bureaus and chairs. They were familiar objects and raised no alarm. Besides, if something wasn’t recognizable it took only seconds to crawl out of bed and investigate. An electric clock hummed on the nightstand, the shining face whirring away the minutes until the next day. The sheets felt cool and my head sank into the pillow, the pillowcase smelling fresh and feeling soft. Everything in my world seemed at peace. But something was missing. The day was not yet finished. Then the sliding door rumbled open and Mama eased into the room. “Honey, are you sleeping?” “No, ma’am, I’m awake.” “Okay, then,” and as she sat on the edge

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Dear Father in Heaven look down from above Bless Mama and Papa and those who I Love May angels watch over my slumber and when The morning is breaking awake me — Amen Then Mama tucked the covers under my chin, and bent over to kiss me on the cheek. “Goodnight, honey,” she said and eased back out of the room. The door rumbled shut and the day ended. I was satisfied. 2. The big yellow horse plodded up the mountain trail, kicking plumes of frozen mist as it forged through the knee-deep snow. The world was more black and white than color. The sky was still and overcast in solid dreary gray. Only the spruce trees lent a

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slight variance but the green bows were cloaked in deep billowy inches of snow and the greenery went practically unseen. There was no wind, and as my hunting client rode behind, our walking horses made the only sounds in the silent forest. In all the tranquil beauty, we suffered. The temperature was pinned at 1 degree below zero. I had on long johns, wool pants, and batwing chaps. My top was layered with a T-shirt, long john shirt, flannel shirt, vest, a double thickness of heavy coats, and wool mittens. I couldn’t move. My wool cap was pulled over my ears and my collar was pulled as high as it would tug. The horse’s wooden gait shot spasms along my sore spine, causing me to stiffen with each step. Suddenly, as the critter stepped around a curve and over a root, it stumbled and went to its knees. The sudden pitch forward was too fast. I couldn’t catch myself. Instead, I put a little jump behind my motion and sailed headlong between my mount’s ears. I missed the trail and fell off the side of the hill. Then I lit on my shoulder and rolled, caught my feet, but tumbled again. By the third summersault, I was laughing. Then I flipped sideways, rolled that way a couple of times, and banged to a stop against a stump. For a second, I peered around to see how far I would have scattered down the mountain had the stump not stopped me. Then I glanced up the hill at my hunter. “Are you all right?” he stammered his query with concern. “I figured you’d be dead for sure.” I dragged myself to my feet and trudged back up the hill, grinning, surprised at how far I had fallen. The snow was caked on me like thick gooey frosting. “Aw, shoot. The Good Lord watches over me. It’ll take more than getting dumped off a puny mountain to bother us. Besides, I landed in two feet of snow on top of bear grass. You couldn’t ask for a softer mattress. I just wondered how far back up this mountain I’d have to climb.”


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3. Times were hard. The outfitter displayed every indication of a business going broke and the hunters weren’t happy. Game was hard to find and there was no meat on the meat pole. If hunting didn’t get better, I was about to shoot one of the tame mule deer in the horse pasture for the sake of saving the camp’s attitude. “You know this outfitter won’t be around much longer,” said a grass-farming client from West Columbia. “I know you’re doing you’re best to cover for him, but...” Besides that, I hadn’t been paid in more than a month and my estranged wife and daughter had flown the coop to whereabouts unknown. That night I shrugged into my bedroll, tucked the Bugs Bunny doll my daughter gave me against my chin, and began reciting the old words: “Dear Father in Heaven look down from above...” After the standard

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me on the stage and I took the microphone. “Lord, thank you for today. Thank you for bringing all these friends together for this special occasion. And thank you for this opportunity to share this moment in this young couple’s life. We’re headed into some strange times; watch over us Lord, and thank you for giving this couple the courage to seek each other out, and giving them the courage and desire to move forward together. Again, Lord, thank you for bringing us all together, and thank you for today.

Okay… I reckon that’ll do. Let’s eat.” In unison, the congregation said, “Amen!” “Oh, yeah, Amen.” Seems like I always leave the conversation open-ended. Besides, you can’t say goodbye to somebody who is always with you. E-mail Herman W. Brune at wilderness@fishgame.com.

I’m on my third whiskey drink. I got no business praying in front of a bunch of folks.

rhyme, I swallowed my pride and asked for help. But I never said “Amen.” It seemed like the conversation was ongoing these days; no need to say goodbye. 4. Robert Kollaja, the groom, came up to me at the wedding reception. “Herman, the preacher is stuck and can’t make it for the barbecue. Would you pray over the meal for us?” I gazed around. There must have been 600 or 700 people in the hall. They were all my friends, but I hesitated. “Robert, I’m on my third whiskey drink. I got no business praying in front of a bunch of folks.” No sooner had the words left my mouth than I was ashamed. It was an honor to be asked, and I needed to shake off my foolishness and do what was needed. “Wait a minute, Robert, I’ll do it.” Robert and his new wife, Jennifer, joined A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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Fajitas & More Texas Gourmet Beef Fajitas (Serves 4-6) REATED 20 YEARS AGO AND PERFECTED OVER time, this Texas Gourmet award-winning recipe is a tried and true favorite. The combination of spices and flavors mixed with a great grilling technique yields a great crowdpleasing batch of fajitas.

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3-4 lbs skirt steak, cut into 6to 8-inch pieces for ease of grilling 2 sweet onions, cut into 1/2inch rings 2 poblano peppers, cored, seeded, and sliced thin 2 red or yellow bell peppers, cored and sliced thin 6 cloves fresh garlic, minced 2 Tbs Texas Gourmet Sweet Chipotle Season All 1/2 cup soy sauce 1 can beer 3 Tbs brown sugar 1/2 cup fresh squeezed limejuice 1/3 cup olive oil 1 tsp black pepper Prep the skirt steak—carefully remove the thick membrane or white tissue if attached. Don’t worry about removing every little bit of fat from the beef because the meat is cooked over an extremely hot fire that actually melts the fat away. What is left moistens and flavors the meat. In a large bowl, combine the garlic, soy I58

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sauce, beer, brown sugar, limejuice, olive oil, Sweet Chipotle Season All, and pepper. Mix well, then place the fajitas, peppers, and onions in the marinade. Refrigerate and cover for a minimum of 4-6 hours. (If traveling or for ease in storage, you may place in gallon Zip-Loc bags.) For the fire: I prefer a hot mesquite and charcoal fire, but gas will work as well. Be careful with gas; the flare-ups will keep you busy and you will be well advised not to leave the grill unattended. When grilling, sear over a direct fire then move the steaks to indirect heat for cooking through. Keep grill closed as much as possible. Total cooking time approximately 12-15 minutes.

Store in a warm oven or grill until ready to serve. Serve with warm flour tortillas, Gringo Guacamole, Cilantro Rice, fire roasted serrano salsa, pineapple-mango pico de gallo, Borracho Beans, sour cream, fresh limes, and grated Colby-Jack cheese.

Borracho Beans This is a great side or supper dish, and can be mashed into refried beans as well. With the addition of the beer, the beans do not keep well and must be refrigerated after cooking if not on a hot stove or fire. Serves 12 to 14. 4 cups uncooked beans (preferably pinto beans) 4 quarts water 1 pound bacon or salt pork, chopped 1 onion- peeled and chopped 2 serrano chilies, chopped 1 cup cilantro, chopped 2 tomatoes, chopped 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced 2 tsp ground cumin 1 tsp freshly ground pepper salt to taste 1 can beer

For the peppers and onions, grill indirectly to keep from burning. Remove steaks and vegetables to a platter and rest for 20 minutes under a loose piece of foil. Slice meat across the grain into 1/4-inch strips, then cut the strips into bite sized pieces. Place pieces into a multi-layered foil pouch in a tray or baking dish. The reason for this is to reserve all the natural juices. F i s h

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Brown the bacon, drain off half the fat, then add the onion. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes then add the remainder of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce to a light boil, then cover and cook for 2 to 3 hours or until beans are tender and they have made a soup like consistency.

Cilantro Rice This great side dish can accompany fajitas, seafood, grilled meats, and enchiladas. PHOTO COURTESY OF BRYAN SLAVEN


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S P O N S O R E D BY:

1 Tbs chicken base (better than bouillon chicken base) 1 tsp minced garlic 1/2 cup fresh cilantro (chopped) 1 cup chicken stock 1 Tbs vegetable oil 1 medium onion diced fine 1-1/2 cup long grain white rice 1-1/2 cup Roma tomatoes diced fine 1/2 jar Texas Gourmet’s Fire Roasted Salsa or (8 oz red salsa) 1 Tbs salt

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pieces of foil. Remove mushrooms from marinade, place a foil square on a work surface and set a mushroom on top, under side up. Fold the foil edges over to enclose the mushroom and seal the edges shut. Grill indirectly over medium hot fire for 10-12 minutes with the lid closed. Remove and discard the foil. Return the unwrapped mushrooms to the grill, bottom side up, brush with the marinade and cook until grill marked, 30-60 seconds. Remove from the grill and slice into 1/4-inch thick slices.

Serve with warm flour tortillas, grilled rings of onion, guacamole, and pico de gallo.

Contact Bryan Slaven, "The Texas Gourmet," at 888-234-7883, www.thetexasgourmet.com; or by email at texas-tasted@fishgame.com.

Place the chicken base, garlic, cilantro, and chicken stock in a blender and puree. Transfer to a saucepan and bring to a boil. In a separate large skillet, add the vegetable oil and the onion, brown lightly. Add the rice and stir until rice is heated through and coated with the oil. Add the stock and cilantro mixture and cook on low heat covered for 18 minutes. Add the salsa, Roma tomatoes, and salt and continue to cook until the liquids are absorbed and the rice is done.

Portabello Fajitas 4 portabello mushrooms, stems removed and discarded, caps wiped clean 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 3 Tbs soy sauce 1 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro 6 oz dark beer 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper 1 Tbs Texas Gourmet Habanero Pepper Jelly 1 onion sliced into 1/2-inch thick rings Combine olive oil, sliced onion rings, limejuice, garlic, soy sauce, cilantro, habanero jelly, beer and pepper in a large zip lock plastic bag. Add the mushrooms, seal the bag, and gently shake to coat the mushrooms with the marinade. Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Cut four 12x12-inch A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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Bill Brooks 42-inch Redfish ce Hillman Guide Servi

TEXAS FRESHWATER

Page I61

Tom Wright, Todd , Stephen and Ken Specks and Reds Hugo Ford Guide Se rvice

Benjamin Spaulding Redfish Redfish Charters

TEXAS HUNTING

OUTDOOR SHOPPER

LAKE TEXOMA

BAFFIN BAY

OUTDOOR SHOPPER

ADVERTISERS, MAIL IN YOUR PHOTOS TODAY!

SPOTLIGHT: NEWGLASS2 For Classified Rates and Information call Dennise at 1-800-750-4678, ext. 5579. TEXAS HUNTING

NewGlass2 is a space age acrylic polymer. It is designed to seal and protect fiberglass from salt and sun. As fiberglass grows older it develops tiny pores and cracks as the fiberglass dries out. NewGlass2 fills in the pores and cracks as it mechanically bonds to the fiberglass. This adds a coating of hard, shiny acrylic plastic to the surface of your fiberglass. This protective coating of hard acrylic makes colors pop out and the surface shines like new. NewGlass was developed in a marina in Miami to protect fiberglass from the Florida sun. That was 1988, over 20 years ago. NewGlass2 has been protecting boats and RVs ever since then. Improvements have been made over the years and now NewGlass2 is easier to apply, longer lasting and more protective. In Texas, NewGlass2 should last between 14 and 18 months. It is recommended that 2 maintenance coats be applied every 12 months to extend the life of the shine. A quart of NewGlass2 will coat and protect a 25’ center console fishing boat or a 30’ RV. NewGlass2 dries very quickly to a hard, shiny surface. A quart of NewGlass2 sells for $39.95 plus shipping from Florida. No Compounding. No Rubbing. No Buffing. Satisfaction is backed by a 100% Money Back Guarantee. More information is available from Thom and Jennifer at 800 785 7675 or at www.NewGlass2.com. —Thom Goff of NewGlass2 A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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BASS—LAKE AUSTIN, TEXAS

RED SNAPPER—FREEPORT, TEXAS

David Whitehead of Mustang Ridge, Texas, caught this 6-pound, 3-ounce bass on Lake Austin floating a live minnow. This is the largest fish that he has landed on a rod and reel.

Nick Barnett, age 10, of Spring, Texas, caught his limit of red snapper just before Federal regulations outside of 9 miles changed. He was fishing with his dad and friend out of Freeport, Texas, and all caught their limits on dead shad in 1-1/2 hours.

BUCK—EDEN, TEXAS

REDFISH—ROCKPORT, TEXAS

WHITIES—SURFSIDE BEACH, TEXAS

Cody Brigham, age 13, of Austin, Texas, bagged the buck of a lifetime while hunting at Two Oaks Ranch near Eden, Texas. The buck, killed by one shoulder shot, rated a 159-6/8 B&C by Damuth Taxidermy.

Penny King of Iowa Park, Texas, caught this 81/2-pound, 28-inch redfish on the reefs near Rockport, while fishing with guide, Capt. Brent Hopkins. This was her first time fishing the bay.

Jacob Gallegos, age 7, of Humble, Texas, went fishing for reds at Surfside Beach with his PaPa and MaMa Hastings. They got invaded by whities instead and caught nine in 2 hours, all weighing 1 to 2 pounds.

SEND YOUR PHOTOS TO: I62

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TF&G PHOTO ALBUM 1745 Greens Road Houston, Texas 77032 OR BY EMAIL: photos@fishgame.com

PLEASE INCLUDE NAME, HOMETOWN, WHEN & WHERE CAUGHT, SIZE AND WEIGHT

Note: All non-digital photos submitted become the property of Texas Fish & Game and will not be returned. TF&G makes no guarantee when or if any submitted photo will be published. F i s h

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REDFISH—CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS

BLACK DRUM—SABINE LAKE, TEXAS

Tiffani Crumley, age 3, of San Antonio, Texas, Debra Black of George West, Texas, hooked her Kyle Miller, age 4, of Lumberton, Texas, caught caught her first catfish at a pond near Canyon first redfish on a bayfishing trip with her husband this 15-inch black drum while fishing at North Lake. The biggest was 3-1/2 pounds. John in Corpus Christi. The 24-inch red was caught Sabine Lake. on live shrimp under an Alameda cork.

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ORTH TEXAS ANGLERS ARE NOT READY TO uncross their fingers yet, but lakes Possum Kingdom, Granbury, Whitney, and many of the 23 other water bodies that have suffered golden algae-related fish kills since 2001 are on a sharp rebound. Healthy populations of largemouth bass, striped bass, catfishes, and crappie are back on most of those lakes, as are many of the anglers who abandoned the waters after severe fish kills crippled the fisheries in 2001 and 2003 Golden algae were relatively unknown in North America prior to 1986, the year it was discovered in the Pecos River below Red Bluff Reservoir in West Texas. It had been found prior to the Pecos River discovery, however, in other countries including Denmark, Britain, South Africa, Scotland, and Italy. Golden algae’s scientific name is Prymnesium parvum, a microscopic organism (about 3000 to the inch) that not only utilizes sunlight as a source of energy through photosynthesis like most other algae, but also is capable of consuming other material. When a golden algae “bloom” (rapid population explosion) occurs, the cells release toxins that affect fish by causing their gills to hem-

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orrhage. The fish generally suffer a slow, suffocating death. No practical cure has been found to prevent or treat a golden alga bloom. In Texas, the first golden algae fish kill considered major took place in January 2001, when thousands of striped bass along with virtually every other species of fish in Possum Kingdom Lake began washing ashore. Thousands of other dead and dying fish simply sank to the bottom or were consumed by birds as they struggled or floated at the surface. By April that year, the attacks from golden algae had spread downriver to lakes

Kingdom Lake dam was shut down during a $5 million renovation of the 50-year-old hatchery. Although the fish kills crippled many fisheries, they did not wipe out the entire populations of any species of a single body of water other than at the Dundee hatchery. However, just learning of so many fish being killed prompted many anglers to quit fishing Possum Kingdom, Whitney, and others. Meanwhile, heavy year-to-year stockings of Florida largemouth bass, striped bass, channel catfish, and even bluegill in one instance, began to boost the populations in many of the lakes. Possum Kingdom still has not drawn the numbers of anglers it once did, but that likely is due to other factors. For one, many of the bass tournament organizations that held events on the lake prior to the 2001 fish kill no longer exist. Also, a crippled economy has changed how far and how often many anglers are willing to go fishing. Nevertheless, Possum Kingdom is producing outstanding catches of largemouth bass, crappie, sand bass, and small striped bass. Virtually all of the striped bass fishing guides on the lake vacated it soon after the 2001 fish kill, and only a small number of local residents

by Bob Hood Granbury and Whitney. By 2004, fish kills caused by golden algae had been recorded not only at reservoirs on four river systems (Colorado, Brazos, Pecos, and Red) but also at the Dundee State Fish Hatchery near Wichita Falls, where it destroyed the state’s striped bass production by killing 28 million striper fry. The loss of the stripers at the Dundee hatchery was particularly significant because it came at a time when the state’s only other striper factory located below the Possum A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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In This Issue GEARING UP SECTION

N11 N12 N14 N16 N22

TEXAS TESTED • Daiwa; StarTron | BY TF&G STAFF NEW PRODUCTS • What’s New from Top Outdoor Manufacturers | BY TF&G STAFF INDUSTRY INSIDER • Hoffpauir Outdoor Superstore; and more | BY TF&G STAFF

OUTDOOR LIFESTYLE SECTION

N28

DISCOVER THE OUTDOORS • Classifieds | BY TF&G STAFF

N30

TEXAS TASTED • Fajitas & More | BY BRYAN SLAVEN

N31

PHOTO ALBUM • Your Action Photos | BY TF&G STAFF

SHOOT THIS! • Smith & Wesson i-Bolt in .30-06 | BY STEVE LAMASCUS FISH THIS! • ZipVac Keeps Game Fresh | BY GREG BERLOCHER

N1

COVER STORY • Post-Golden Algae Recovery | BY BOB HOOD

HOTSPOTS & TIDES SECTION

N4

SPORTSMAN’S DAYBOOK • Tides, Solunar Table, Best Hunting/Fishing Times | BY TF&G STAFF

N6

TEXAS HOTSPOTS • Texas’ Hottest Fishing Spots | BY CALIXTO GONZALES & JD MOORE

N18

BOWHUNTING TECH • Blinds | BY LOU MARULLO

N20

TEXAS BOATING • Outboard Troubleshooting 101 | BY LENNY RUDOW

N24

FRESHWATER BAITS & RIGS • Swimming Worm | BY PAUL BRADSHAW

N26

WILDERNESS TRAILS • Amen | BY HERMAN W. BRUNE

PHOTO COURTESY OF BRYAN SLAVEN

HOW-TO SECTION

Possum Kingdom Lake has rebounded from a major golden algae fish-kill in 2001 and minor algae-related fish kills since then, as these three young anglers from Arkansas discovered while fishing with guide John Bryan of Graham. appear to fish for stripers. That has left PK’s striper fishery virtually untouched. A lot of stripers are being caught, but most of them are small fish taken in the big schools of sand bass that have been providing excellent action. The largemouth bass at PK seem to be benefiting from the 16-inch minimum size limit that went into effect in 2003. That, plus numerous stockings of fingerling Florida bass since 2002, has resulted in a great rebound for the popular game fish. Whitney’s overall fishery is back on track, too. Striped bass were first stocked in Whitney in 1973 and have been stocked every year since 1984, except for 1973 and 2000. Last year, 332,542 striper fingerlings were added to the lake’s great striper fishery. Whitney also was stocked with 13,747 bluegills in 2005 to help boost that important food source for many game fishes. Although Granbury never has produced the numbers or size of stripers that have PK or Whitney, the lake’s largemouth bass action remains excellent, especially during March N2

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and April when the fish move into the shallows to spawn. Lake Texoma’s bout of golden algae in March 2004 involved mostly threadfin shad in a small area of the lake and did not have an impact on that lake’s incredible fishery. Texoma remains a top lake for striped bass, largemouth bass, sand bass, and catfishes. Many of the other reservoirs affected by golden algae fish kills either had poor or fair fisheries before the kills occurred, and remain

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about the same today. However, the watch remains on all of them, from Baylor, Childress, Kemp, and Diversion on the Red River basin to Sweetwater and Buffalo Springs in the Brazos basin, Colorado City, Spence, Moss Lake on the Colorado River basin, and Balmorhea and Red Bluff on the Rio Grande basin, as well as others.

PHOTO BY BOB HOOD


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Tides and Solunar Table for , MARCH 2009 MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

SYMBOL KEY



New Moon

2 1:09 AM 9:59 AM 12:51 PM 4:41 PM

-0.31 ft 1.03 ft 0.97 ft 1.07 ft

Sunrise: 7:02a Moonrise: 10:05a AM Minor: 9:45a PM Minor: 10:12p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

1.16 ft -0.34 ft 1.04 ft 0.53 ft

Sunrise: 7:54a Moonrise: 6:33p AM Minor: 4:47a PM Minor: 5:12p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

PRIME TIME 2:22 AM 11:50 AM 1:24 PM 4:12 PM

-0.18 ft 1.12 ft 1.11 ft 1.13 ft

Sunrise: 7:45a Moonrise: 12:47a AM Minor: 10:44a PM Minor: 11:10p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot: 1:58 AM 9:10 AM 4:08 PM 9:15 PM

4:00-6:50 AM

1.14 ft 0.13 ft 1.10 ft 0.74 ft

Sunrise: 7:37a Moonrise: 5:50a AM Minor: 3:48a PM Minor: 4:10p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

• M A R C H

-0.42 ft 1.18 ft

Sunrise: 7:01a Moonrise: 10:54a AM Minor: 10:45a PM Minor: 11:15p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

3:50 AM 1.19 ft 10:42 AM -0.12 ft 5:09 PM 0.99 ft 10:42 PM 0.28 ft

Sunrise: 7:53a Moonrise: 7:38p AM Minor: 5:34a PM Minor: 5:58p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

9:20-11:54 AM

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

3:00 AM 9:43 AM 4:17 PM 9:39 PM

1.19 ft 0.24 ft 1.09 ft 0.56 ft

Sunrise: 7:36a Moonrise: 6:19a AM Minor: 4:27a PM Minor: 4:48p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

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12:00-1:40 AM

 18

Sunrise: 7:43a Moonrise: 2:36a AM Minor: 12:07a PM Minor: 12:31p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

10:00AM12:30PM

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

5:25-7:20 PM

Set: 6:37p Set: 1:48a AM Major: 5:31a PM Major: 6:02p 7:21p 6:50a 1.21 ft 0.14 ft 0.96 ft 0.07 ft

12:00-23:00 AM

Set: 7:42p Set: 7:57a AM Major: 12:09a PM Major: 12:33p 1:51a 2:15p

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 4:40 AM High Tide: 4:33 PM

25

-0.50 ft 1.26 ft

PRIME TIME 5:00 AM 11:26 AM 5:23 PM 11:21 PM

Sunrise: 7:52a Moonrise: 8:41p AM Minor: 6:21a PM Minor: 6:44p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

PRIME TIME

Set: 7:50p Set: 6:15p AM Major: 10:37a PM Major: 10:59p 12:13p None

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Sunrise: 7:00a Moonrise: 11:51a AM Minor: 11:47a PM Minor: ——Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

Set: 7:46p Set: 11:41a AM Major: 5:26a PM Major: 5:51p 6:43a 7:08p

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 3:26 AM High Tide: 4:04 PM

 11

4:50-7:10 AM

BEST DAYS

4

PRIME TIME

PRIME TIME -0.12 ft 1.19 ft

Sunrise: 7:44a Moonrise: 1:43a AM Minor: 11:38a PM Minor: ——Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

T E X A S

4:00-6:20 AM

Set: 7:41p Set: 7:26a AM Major: 11:46a PM Major: ——1:04a 1:28p

17

PRIME TIME

Good Day

Set: 6:36p Set: 12:41a AM Major: 4:31a PM Major: 5:00p 6:19p 5:49a

10

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Last Quarter



PRIME TIME

PRIME TIME

Set: 7:50p Set: 5:17p AM Major: 9:59a PM Major: 10:21p 11:30a 11:52p



3

Low Tide: 3:24 AM High Tide: 4:12 PM

Set: 7:45p Set: 10:55a AM Major: 4:32a PM Major: 4:57p 5:52a 6:18p

23 High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

10:40-11:59 PM

Set: 7:41p Set: 6:53a AM Major: 10:59a PM Major: 11:25p 12:14a 12:39p

16 Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

3:30-5:25 PM

PRIME TIME 2:34 AM 9:55 AM 4:54 PM 10:04 PM

Full Moon

Low Tide: 2:12 AM High Tide: 4:26 PM

Set: 6:36p Set: None AM Major: 3:31a PM Major: 3:59p 5:20p 4:52a

9

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:



First Quarter

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

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3:58 AM 10:17 AM 4:27 PM 10:09 PM

Sunrise: 7:34a Moonrise: 6:48a AM Minor: 5:06a PM Minor: 5:28p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

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-0.06 ft 1.22 ft

5:40-7:35 AM

Set: 7:47p Set: 12:32p AM Major: 6:18a PM Major: 6:43p 7:34a 7:59p 1.26 ft 0.38 ft 1.08 ft 0.37 ft

5

Sunrise: 6:59a Moonrise: 12:56p AM Minor: 12:16a PM Minor: 12:47p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

12

-0.57 ft 1.29 ft

PRIME TIME

Sunrise: 7:50a Moonrise: 9:43p AM Minor: 7:10a PM Minor: 7:33p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 5:59 AM High Tide: 4:44 PM

Sunrise: 7:42a Moonrise: 3:23a AM Minor: 12:55a PM Minor: 1:20p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

10:40AM1:20PM

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

12:20-2:50 AM

Set: 7:43p Set: 8:28a AM Major: 12:58a PM Major: 1:22p 2:38a 3:01p

19

 26

6:20-8:15 PM

Set: 6:38p Set: 2:50a AM Major: 6:31a PM Major: 7:02p 8:23p 7:52a

High Tide: 6:08 AM 1.21 ft Low Tide: 12:07 PM 0.41 ft High Tide: 5:38 PM 0.96 ft

PRIME TIME

Set: 7:51p Set: 7:13p AM Major: 11:17a PM Major: 11:39p 12:57p 12:35a

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 4:45 AM High Tide: 3:09 PM

-0.03 ft 1.21 ft

6:30-8:35 AM

Set: 7:47p Set: 1:26p AM Major: 7:08a PM Major: 7:32p 8:24a 8:48p

PRIME TIME 4:56 AM 10:53 AM 4:35 PM 10:42 PM

Sunrise: 7:33a Moonrise: 7:17a AM Minor: 5:49a PM Minor: 6:11p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

1.32 ft 0.54 ft 1.08 ft 0.17 ft

11:05AM1:50PM

Set: 7:52p Set: 8:14p AM Major: ——PM Major: 12:23p 1:41p 1:19a


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Tides and Solunar Table for , MARCH 2009 FRIDAY

SATURDAY

MAR 1 Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

12:16 AM 8:10 AM 12:23 PM 5:01 PM

Sunrise: 7:03a Moonrise: 9:24a AM Minor: 8:46a PM Minor: 9:12p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

6

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 6:00 AM High Tide: 3:13 PM

Sunrise: 6:58a Moonrise: 2:05p AM Minor: 1:13a PM Minor: 1:44p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

13 Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

-0.60 ft 1.27 ft

Set: 6:38p Set: 3:45a AM Major: 7:28a PM Major: 7:59p 9:23p 8:53a

PRIME TIME 12:02 AM 7:16 AM 12:46 PM 5:48 PM

Sunrise: 7:49a Moonrise: 10:45p AM Minor: 8:01a PM Minor: 8:25p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

-0.09 ft 1.19 ft 0.65 ft 0.97 ft

7:05 AM 4:23 PM 10:19 PM 10:49 PM

Sunrise: 7:41a Moonrise: 4:06a AM Minor: 1:42a PM Minor: 2:07p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

27 High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

5:55 AM 11:32 AM 4:40 PM 11:20 PM

Sunrise: 7:32a Moonrise: 7:48a AM Minor: 6:35a PM Minor: 6:59p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

1:00-3:40 AM

Set: 7:43p Set: 9:00a AM Major: 1:50a PM Major: 2:13p 3:25a 3:49p

20 Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

7:25-9:30 PM

-0.01 ft 1.17 ft 1.06 ft 1.06 ft

Low Tide: 7:06 AM High Tide: 3:25 PM Low Tide: 8:15 PM

Sunrise: 6:56a Moonrise: 3:16p AM Minor: 2:08a PM Minor: 2:37p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

-0.59 ft 1.20 ft 0.99 ft

Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

DST> 8

8:10-10:25 PM

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

PRIME TIME 12:44 AM 8:28 AM 1:22 PM 5:52 PM

Sunrise: 7:48a Moonrise: 11:47p AM Minor: 8:55a PM Minor: 9:19p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

21

7:30-9:05 PM

Low Tide: 7:56 AM High Tide: 4:04 PM Low Tide: 9:15 PM

Sunrise: 7:39a Moonrise: 4:44a AM Minor: 2:27a PM Minor: 2:50p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

-0.18 ft 1.16 ft 0.85 ft 1.01 ft

0.01 ft 1.14 ft 1.01 ft

12:00-2:25 PM

High Tide: 6:59 AM 1.42 ft Low Tide: 12:12 PM 0.93 ft High Tide: 4:39 PM 1.15 ft

PRIME TIME -0.17 ft 0.99 ft 0.76 ft 0.96 ft

Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

PRIME TIME 1.12 ft -0.50 ft 1.12 ft 0.78 ft

8:10-9:55 AM

1:30 AM 9:51 AM 1:46 PM 5:26 PM

Set: 7:40p Set: 6:16a AM Major: 10:12a PM Major: 10:39p None 11:48a

29

1:05-3:20 PM

Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

-0.20 ft 1.13 ft 1.01 ft 1.06 ft

2:50-5:10 AM

Set: 7:45p Set: 10:12a AM Major: 3:37a PM Major: 4:02p 5:02a 5:27p

PRIME TIME 12:47 AM 8:36 AM 4:02 PM 9:03 PM

Sunrise: 7:38a Moonrise: 5:18a AM Minor: 3:08a PM Minor: 3:31p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

PRIME TIME

10:00-11:59 PM

PRIME TIME

Sunrise: 7:47a Moonrise: None AM Minor: 9:50a PM Minor: 10:14p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

3:20-5:30 PM

Set: 6:35p Set: 11:34p AM Major: 2:33a PM Major: 2:59p 4:25p 3:59a

15

22

Set: 7:53p Set: 10:24p AM Major: 1:15a PM Major: 1:41p 3:20p 2:54a

12:04 AM 9:03 AM 4:39 PM 9:32 PM

Sunrise: 7:55a Moonrise: 5:26p AM Minor: 3:59a PM Minor: 4:26p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

PRIME TIME

Set: 7:48p Set: 3:21p AM Major: 8:38a PM Major: 9:02p 10:00a 10:23p

28

Sunrise: 7:31a Moonrise: 8:23a AM Minor: 7:28a PM Minor: 7:53p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

2:10-4:20 AM

Set: 7:44p Set: 9:35a AM Major: 2:43a PM Major: 3:07p 4:13a 4:37p

PRIME TIME

Set: 7:52p Set: 9:18p AM Major: 12:23a PM Major: 12:47p 2:29p 2:05a

PRIME TIME

Set: 6:39p Set: 4:34a AM Major: 8:22a PM Major: 8:51p 10:20p 9:52a

14

PRIME TIME

Set: 7:48p Set: 2:23p AM Major: 7:54a PM Major: 8:19p 9:13a 9:37p 1.38 ft 0.73 ft 1.10 ft -0.02 ft

7

TIDE STATION CORRECTION TABLE NOT FOR NAVIGATION

SUNDAY

1.09 ft 0.06 ft 1.12 ft 0.90 ft

8:50-11:10 AM

Set: 7:49p Set: 4:19p AM Major: 9:19a PM Major: 9:42p 10:46a 11:08p

PRIME TIME 12:02 AM 8:11 AM 12:53 PM 4:30 PM

Sunrise: 7:29a Moonrise: 9:04a AM Minor: 8:26a PM Minor: 8:53p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

A L M A N A C / T E X A S

-0.18 ft 1.45 ft 1.13 ft 1.23 ft

2:00-4:10 PM

Set: 7:53p Set: 11:33p AM Major: 2:12a PM Major: 2:40p 4:15p 3:47a

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PLACE SABINE BANK LIGHTHOUSE (29.47° N, 93.72° W) SABINE PASS JETTY (29.65° N, 93.83° W) SABINE PASS (29.73° N, 93.87°W) MESQUITE PT, SABINE PASS (29.77° N, 93.9° W) GALV. BAY, SO. JETTY (29.34° N, 94.7° W) PORT BOLIVAR (29.36° N, 94.77° W) TX CITY TURNING BASIN (29.38° N, 94.88° W) EAGLE POINT (29.5° N, 94.91° W) CLEAR LAKE (29.56° N, 95.06° W) MORGANS POINT (29.68° N, 94.98° W) ROUND PT, TRINITY BAY (29.71° N, 94.69° W) PT. BARROW, TRIN. BAY (29.74° N, 94.83° W) GILCHRIST, E. BAY (29.52° N, 94.48° W) JAMAICA BCH., W. BAY (29.2° N, 94.98° W) ALLIGATOR PT., W. BAY (29.17° N, 94.13° W) CHRISTMAS PT, CHR. BAY (29.08° N, 94.17° W) GALV. PLEASURE PIER (29.29° N, 94.79° W) SAN LUIS PASS (29.08° N, 95.12° W) FREEPORT HARBOR (28.95° N, 95.31° W) PASS CAVALLO (28.37° N, 96.4° W) ARANSAS PASS (27.84° N, 97.05° W) PADRE ISL.(SO. END) (26.07° N, 97.16° W) PORT ISABEL (26.06° N, 97.22° W)

MON 30 Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

12:51 AM 9:33 AM 1:35 PM 4:14 PM

Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

1:48 AM 11:11 AM 2:26 PM 3:51 PM

LOW

-1:46

-1:31

-1:26

-1:31

-1:00

-1:15

-0:04

-0:25

-0:39

-1:05

+0:14

-0:06

+0:33

+0:41

+3:54

+4:15

+6:05

+6:40

+10:21

+5:19

+10:39

+5:15

+5:48

+4:43

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PRIME TIME -0.28 ft 1.46 ft 1.30 ft 1.33 ft

Sunrise: 7:28a Moonrise: 9:51a AM Minor: 9:29a PM Minor: 9:58p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

TUE 31

HIGH

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Set: 7:54p Set: None AM Major: 3:14a PM Major: 3:43p 5:13p 4:44a

PRIME TIME -0.33 ft 1.48 ft 1.42 ft 1.43 ft

Sunrise: 7:27a Moonrise: 10:46a AM Minor: 10:34a PM Minor: 11:05p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

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by JD Moore, North Zone Fishing Editor & Calixto Gonzales, South Zone Fishing Editor

Gold Traps Take Bass LOCATION: Elm Creek Reservoir, near Winters, TX HOTSPOT: Cove due west of boat ramp GPS: N31 56.640, W99 52.437

SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: gold Rat-L-Traps, spinnerbaits in chartreuse/white; Nichols creature baits CONTACT: Wendell Ramsey, 325-2274931, bram4@suddenlink.net TIPS: Small West Texas lakes are loaded with big bass. The cove straight across from the boat ramp is a great place to start looking for large females. Cast a moving bait in the standing brush and reel at medium retrieve through the center of cover. If you see a lay down, flip a creature bait along the edge, swim it down the side, and get ready to be hit. BANK ACCESS: Camping available, shoreline fishing LOCATION: Hords Creek Lake, near Coleman, Texas HOTSPOT: Creek Arm GPS: N31 50.016, W99 35.414 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Nichols creature baits in Green Pumpkin, Watermelon Red; buzzbaits in white, frogs in white or Watermelon Pearl CONTACT: Wendell Ramsey, 325-2274931, bram4@suddenlink.net TIPS: Another great little lake with camping and scenic areas. The only creek feeding this gem is loaded with Willow trees, Salt Cedar, and nice bass. Fish the abundant cover with a Strike King Rage Tail Space N6

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Monkey or Rage Craw from 2-6 feet deep. Try a buzzbait or topwater Rage Toad through the thick cover and wait. The strike will come. Also try a shallow running crankbait on the open flats near the channel edges. BANK ACCESS: Camping available, shoreline fishing

Buchanan Stripers LOCATION: Lake Buchanan HOTSPOT: Paradise Point GPS: N30 51.303, W98 25,553 SPECIES: striped bass BEST BAITS: Pirk Minnows, white Curb’s striper jigs, Gizz 4 crankbaits, live bait CONTACT: Kandie Candelaria, 210-8232153, kandie@gvtc.com TIPS: Stripers are good in 15-30 feet of water around Paradise Point. Vertically jig Pirk Minnows, Curb’s striper jigs; troll Gizz 4 crankbaits while drifting live bait. BANK ACCESS: Thunderbird Resort, catfish, largemouth, crappie, white bass LOCATION: Lake Buchanan HOTSPOT: Silver Creek GPS: N30 51.942, W98 24.811 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Secret Weapon spinnerbaits, Texas-rigged Pumpkin Whacky Sticks by crème lures; white suspending crankbaits

CONTACT: Kandie Candelaria, 210-8232153, kandie@gvtc.com TIPS: You will find largemouth bass up to 5 pounds by working the 5- to 10-foot break lines of flats in the deepest creeks. If you strike out here move to the dam and fish 1/4thounce Secret Weapon spinnerbait.

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CALIXTO GONZALES

BANK ACCESS: Thunderbird Resort, catfish, largemouth, crappie, white bass LOCATION: Canyon Lake HOTSPOT: Turkey Creek GPS: N29 51.846, W98 13.152 SPECIES: smallmouth bass BEST BAITS: crawfish-pattern Rat-L-Traps, Smoke-colored JDC craws, Pumpkin-colored Robo worms on Picasso shakey heads or Texas-rigged with 1/8-ounce Tungsten weights CONTACT: Kandie Candelaria, 210-8232153, kandie@gvtc.com TIPS: You will find the big smallmouth in 4 to 12 feet of water over main lake points and bluff ledges using the above-mentioned baits. BANK ACCESS: Potters Creek Park, largemouth bass, stripers, catfish

Snake Up Some White Bass LOCATION: Lake Aquilla HOTSPOT: Snake Island GPS: N31 55.215, W97 12,891 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: Little Georges, Tail Hummers, chrome Rat-L-Traps, chartreuse Slabs CONTACT: Randy Routh, 817-822-5539, www.teamredneck.net TIPS: Have your binoculars handy. The birds are still working on the whites that are gorging and spawning. Around Snake Island, use Little Georges or Tail Hummers, casting along wind blown points. Triplett Point is also producing a lot of whites. Use same lures. BANK ACCESS: Tailrace Fishing Pier, white


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bass on jigs, Little Georges, Tail Hummers fished in outlet LOCATION: Lake Belton HOTSPOT: Upper Bull Creek GPS: N31 10.180, W97 31.125 SPECIES: largemouth bass

BEST BAITS: white spinnerbait with chrome Colorado blades CONTACT: Bob Maindelle, 254-368-7411, Bob@HoldingTheLine GuideService.com TIPS: Fish from tree to tree, fishing slowly around trees by flipping spinnerbait and letting it helicopter down along the trunk. Fish

faster when moving to next tree. BANK ACCESS: Temple Lake Park, largemouth, catfish, white bass LOCATION: Gibbons Creek Reservoir HOTSPOT: Crappie Hole GPS: N30 36.710, W96 04.000 SPECIES: crappie BEST BAITS: minnows and jigs CONTACT: Weldon Kirk, 979-229-3103, www.FishTales-GuideService.com TIPS: Crappie are closing in on spawning time. Work around rocks and tree stumps. Use a slip cork and set the depth on the cork often. Cast down the bank and very slowly reel the cork toward you in a start and stop motion. Let the cork sit for a minute, then reel about 6 inches, then let it sit again. Repeat the process until the cork is back at the boat. Try it close to shore, keeping cork in approximate depth as you have it set. You can use a jig under the cork or a minnow. A jig does not have to be jigged up and down. It will work with the reel and sit motion of the cork. BANK ACCESS: Hwy 175 Bridge east; cast lures for bass, minnows for crappie LOCATION: Lake Joe Pool HOTSPOT: Bowman Creek GPS: N32 37.194, W97 03.161 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: jigs and large Texas-rigged worms CONTACT: Randy Maxwell, 817-3132878, www.getagripguide.com TIPS: Check the secondary points and beyond in bigger creeks, such as Lynn and Walnut. All are great choices. If you hit a warm spell, check the flats that are close to creek bends with timber. The warmer the weather, the further I venture into the creeks. With the lack of grass, bass will start hanging around timber more and more. This makes the jig and Texas-rigged worm great choices. Don’t forget to move up a line size this time of year. You don’t want to cry over the big one that got away. One last thought. I keep a 3/4th-ounce Rat-L-Trap tied onto an extra rod for the times you find a few degrees weather difference. I always watch the weather for this opportunity.

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BANK ACCESS: Crappie Dock, crappie with live minnows LOCATION: Lake Palestine HOTSPOT: Kickapoo Creek GPS: N32, 17.349, W95 29.923 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Shimmy Shaker, jigs, plastic worms, red Rat-L-Trap CONTACT: Ricky Vandergriff, 903-5617299, www.rickysguideservice.com TIPS: The bass are beginning their spawn and are biting well. You can find them in the back of creeks and the backs of small pockets. Fish slowly and cover the water well for best results: BANK ACCESS: Dam Park, largemouth bass, crappie, fish pockets and rock wall LOCATION: Lake Palestine HOTSPOT: Flat Creek GPS: N32 11.654, W95 29.421 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: buzzbaits, in white, chartreuse, or combinations of both; Nichols spinnerbaits in white/chartreuse with double willow leaf blades, Texas-rigged lizards in black, blue, or Junebug colors CONTACT: Don Mattern, 903-478-2633, www.matternguideservice.fghp.com TIPS: March is the beginning of the peak spawning period in an area called Flat Creek. It is located east of the FM 315 bridge. The very back of this area is called School Bus Hole, because in the very back of one of the creeks an old school bus sits on the banks. There are three different cuts in the back with the one on the west bank being Flat Creek. All three areas hold big spawning female bass. This is a scenic area and less pressured except for tournament anglers because of the 5 mile trip through stump fields to the back of Flat Creek. Tilt your motor some and take it easy or you’ll tear up your boat getting in and out. BANK ACCESS: Dam Park, largemouth bass, crappie, fish pockets and rock wall

Chaney Gives Up Largemouths LOCATION: Lake Fork HOTSPOT: Chaney Creek GPS: N32 47.848, W95 33.603 SPECIES: largemouth bass

BEST BAITS: spinnerbait, Shimmy Shakers, Long A’s, and Mister Twister Comida worms in Watermelon Red flake and black/blue flake CONTACT: Ricky Vandergriff, 903-5617299, www.rickysguideservice.com TIPS: Bass are beginning their spawn and can be found in main lake pockets and in the back of main lake creek channels. BANK ACCESS: Fishing Pier at Minnow Bucket Bait Stand, crappie, largemouth bass LOCATION: Lake Fork HOTSPOT: Penson Bay GPS: N32 53.354, W95 39.387 SPECIES: crappie BEST BAITS: crappie jigs, live minnows on long crappie pole with slip cork CONTACT: Michael Rogge, www.lake-forkguides.com TIPS: Crappie will start moving to the shallows in mid-March. Find drop offs in the backs of the creeks that are close to shallow flats that have cover. Check out Rodgers Creek, White Oak Bay, and Board Tree Branch. BANK ACCESS: Fishing Pier at Minnow Bucket Bait Stand, crappie, largemouth bass

A Penny for Your Reds LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Unnecessary Island GPS: N26 13.811, W97 16.342

SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: live shrimp/popping cork, live mullet; Gulp! Shrimp in New Penny, 1/4ounce redfish Magic spinner bait CONTACT: Captain Ruben Garcia, 956459-3286 TIPS: The shallows are beginning to warm as spring-type weather starts to move in. Live shrimp always is a good first choice. Swim a gold safety-pin style spinner bait with a A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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ALL GPS COORDINATES VERIFIED BY

red/white or Texas Shad plastic around weedbeds if fish are active The ubiquitous Mauler/shrimp rig is always effective, especially if heavy March winds have murked up the water, or if the fish are deeper. Use an 18inch, 20- to 30-pound leader for added toughness.

Morning Glory Trout LOCATION: Baffin Bay HOTSPOT: The Tide Gauge GPS: N27 18.082, W97 27.512 SPECIES: speckled trout

BEST BAITS: Corky or Corky Devil in dark patterns; Bass Assassin in Morning Glory, Baffin Magic, Pumpkinseed/chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: Gator hunters love fishing Baffin in March. Those who are looking for the trout of a lifetime will fish areas such as the tide gauge. The key is to fish the area as carefully and as thoroughly as you can (in other words, s-l-o-w-l-y). You may only get a few strikes per day, but they are from the sort of trout that make you forget the dead time.

Soft Plastic Trout LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Midlake Humps

attack any fast-moving bait that rumbles by them.

Shad & Shrimp Take Cats LOCATION: Falcon Lake HOTSPOT: San Ignacio GPS: N26 54.949, W99 19.230 SPECIES: catfish

BEST BAIT: fresh shad, shrimp, prepared baits CONTACT: Falcon Lake Bait and Tackle, 956-765-4866 TIPS: Catfishing is always good on Falcon, but action really starts to shake in March. Fish deeper water around San Ignacio with either fresh cut bait or fresh shrimp. Prepared dip and sponge baits will work, but catch mostly smaller fish. Better blues and channels prefer meat. A standard bottom rig works just fine, but some fishermen like to use as little weight as possible to let the bait descend through the water column more slowly. Contact North Regional Fishing Editor JD Moore by email at hotspotsnorth@fishgame.com Contact South Regional Fishing Editor Calixto Gonzales by email at cgonzales@fishgame.com.

GPS: N29 54.906, W93 50.415 SPECIES: speckled trout BAITS: soft plastic in chartreuse patterns, crankbaits CONTACT: Captain Bill Watkins, 401-7862018, www.fishsabinelake.com TIPS: If there are no birds working over schools of feeding fish, electronics will help you locate the humps. Drift over the humps and fish through them with shad tails. A novel approach is to use a crankbait to dig down deep. If the crank bangs along the bottom, you’ll get a fish’s attention. Fish are aggressive when they are on the feed, and will N10

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For MORE HOTSPOT listings, go to our website and click CURRENT ISSUE ARTICLES


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Daiwa 100 PA — A Zillion Times Better

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rated for 12- to 17-pound-test will really like this rig, especially when they experience the astonishing sensitivity of the rod’s bias

graphite construction; it let me feel each and every bouncing pellet careening inside the

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CRANKBAIT ANGLERS NEED A RELIABLE, STEADY reel with plenty of torque and precision casting, and that’s why Daiwa designed their new Zillion 100 PA casting reel with a 4.9:1 gear ratio that brings in 22 inches of line with every crank. Those cranks will be smooth and wobble-free, too, thanks to the “swept-back” handle design, which moves the grips closer to the rod’s centerline to combat wobble. When I tried using the Zillion 100 PA to toss Rat-L-Traps to largemouth holding on a submerged hump, I discovered this design does seem to make for a smoother retrieve. What boosts the smooth factor even more is the use of six ball bearings in the reel plus one roller bearing. The reel is comfortable in the hand, too, weighing in at a mere 8.8 ounces. Despite the compact design, it holds a reasonable amount of line: 120 yards of 14pound-test, or 100 yards of 16-pound-test. I found on-the-water adjustments easy to do single-handedly. The star drag is right at your index finger tip, and the way each arm of the star is angled in, it is easy to grab them with your finger—even when a fish is on the line and your adrenaline is pumping. The spool adjustment, meanwhile, is on a grooved rotor right by your thumb. Again, you can adjust it without moving your right hand away from the crank, or using your left hand at all. Speaking of the left hand, southpaws will be happy to learn that the Zillion 100 PA is available in a left-handed model, tagged the Zillion 100 PLA. When I gave this reel a workout, it was hitched up to the matching Zillion casting rod, the TDZ701 MHFB, a 7-foot trigger-grip rod rated for 10- to 20-pound-test line. The entire rig is astonishingly light; it feels like an ultralight. Anglers chucking lures A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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MINOX Scopes Out Photos, Video MINOX has opened a whole new world for hunters and outdoorsmen with introduction of their all-new DCM digiscoping system – a digital camera, video, monitor and eyepiece all combined in one compact unit. Fitted to a quality spotting scope, the DCM (Digital Camera Module) provides a fast,

MINOX all-in-one scope: digital camera, video, monitor and eyepiece. simple solution for taking digital photos and video footage through a scope. Simply fitted to the scope’s eyepiece bayonet, this optics innovation is an ideal combination of a digital camera with normal functions, a 2-3/8” high-resolution monitor and an eyepiece all in one. Best of all, no additional equipment, such as brackets or special adapters, is needed to get into practical digiscoping. MINOX design-engineers have successfully bridged the separate worlds of highperformance optics and digital camera technology to create this compact, lightweight, affordable package. The DCM is convenient to carry because it weighs less than one pound and measures only about 2-5/8”x2-1/4”x2-3/4”. The large screen allows more than one person to view the subject at the same time, and also see the pictures taken or being taken. It’s like a powerful telephoto lens, and the 5-megapixel camera is multi-compatible – with five different bayonet fittings now available for highquality scopes from Zeiss, Leica, Swarovski N12

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and Kowa, as well as the MINOX MD 62 series. Using the MINOX MD 62 Spotting Scope, with a focal length of 440mm, the magnification is 40X. Watertight and shock-proof, the DCM can be used in adverse weather conditions, and it’s built to stand up to rough outdoor use if necessary. A convenient, built-in “flip-up” lens hood protects the TFT monitor and operating controls when being carried or stored, and even more important it serves as an anti-dazzle shield when in use, preventing reflections on the viewfinder. The 2-3/8” monitor serves not only as the viewfinder but also for fine adjustments of the normal camera functions and for checking images after shooting. Remote control for zoom, shutter release, change between image and video, and video operation. Digiscoping with the MINOX DCM offers great advantages to a wide range of users. Hunters can see game from far away, and take pictures or video footage at the same time. Other outdoorsmen can observe from a safe distance and still capture sharp images, rich in detail. To store images, this exceptional camera has an internal memory of 128 MB, and a port for SD memory cards with up to 4 GB capacity. Power is provided by a replaceable, high-capacity lithium-ion battery. And the DCM comes complete with battery, remote control and soft pouch. MAP is $399. MINOX/USA, P.O. Box 123, Meriden, NH 03770 Fax: (603) 469-3471 Phone Number: (866) 469-3080 www.minox.com

10X NWTF Vest The collaboration between Cleburne, Texas-based Walls Outdoors and the National Wild Turkey Federation has produced the best of all worlds for the avid turkey hunter: an affordable, officially-sanctioned hunting vest that delivers the functionality of true-blue Walls workwear, with all the handy features to help any sportsman bag the best bird. Made of quality lightweight Realtree APG HD cotton-blend camo mesh for maxF i s h

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imum breathability, the Walls 10X® NWTF vest has an enclosed spine drop down and retractable seat pads (with water resistant closed cell foam) for comfort, a concealed blaze orange flag for safety, and a spacious quick- release Velcro rear gamebag with a blood-proof liner for transport. Hunters will particularly appreciate the plentiful pockets inside and out for storage and common calls, including 2 diaphragm with snap closures, striker pocket, box call with a cinch cord, slate call pocket, 2 lower bellows with snap flaps and inside shell loops, with 2 large zippered patch pockets. The Walls 10X® Turkey Vest features the embroidered NWTF logo and is available in M/L, XL and 2XL at Bass Pro Shops and hundreds of independent retailers nationwide. It can be purchased online for $49.99 at www.walls.com or by calling Customer Service at 800-433-1765.

Z-Man “Da Man” SwimmerZ: Swim baits are all the rage for bass, and the Z-Man® SwimmerZ is the “swimmingest” of all with its tri-axis action. Because it floats, a SwimmerZ can be rigged and worked myriad ways, making it the most versatile swim bait you can tie on your line. Adding to the lifelike action are the pair of prominent 3-D eyes and beautiful painted, molded scale finish. The SwimmerZ comes in 4-inch (4 pack) and 6-inch (3 pack) sizes and is available in 10 strike-provoking colors. A custom Z-Man Trigger Hook is included with each pack of SwimmerZ. For additional SwimmerZ information about the outstanding Z-Man® brand products, phone (toll-free) 800-8223398, or visit www.zmanfishing.com.


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to a 54-acre tract on Hwy. 84. The new 15,000-square-foot building includes 4000 square feet of showroom space, plus lots of outdoor display space. Besides Polaris Ranger ATVs and UTVs, the Outdoor Superstore sells many additional power products, including Arctic Cat, Cub Cadet, and Team Joyner USA. Team Joyner USA is a sports utility vehicle. The Cub Cadet product line includes everything from weedeaters and lawn mowers to tractors. If you need a trailer to tow behind your ATV, UTV, or truck, the Superstore sells Big Tex, Texas Brag, Hallmark Cargo Trailers, and S&H Cattle Trailers. “Just about anything anybody could want,” said Hoffpauir Polaris states in their advertising that everything has changed for 2009, with the exception of the shifter knob. Buy a new Polaris, and the company will ship a new knob so that your vehicle is completely new. Nick Hamilton, General Manager for

N 2007, LEE HOFFPAUIR DECIDED HE WOULD like to add an ATV/UTV store to his holdings. After all, he was an outdoors person and knew a good off-road vehicle when he rode one. The opportunity presented itself in Goldthwaite when a small dealership was open to selling. The dealership previously averaged eight units a month in sales. At the end of 2008, average sales had jumped to 60 units per month, nailing down top Polaris dealership honors in Texas for Hoffpauir. On the national scene, final sales numbers for 2008 were not available as of the writing of this report, but Hoffpauir was predicting top honors on the national scene as well: “If we sell our 50 units this month, which I think we will do, it is going to hap- Lee Hoffpauir (2nd from right) of Hoffpauir Outdoor Superstore pen. That will put us over 300 Ranger sales for the year. Only the Hoffpauir Outdoor Superstore, four other dealers have ever achieved this. described some of the changes in the Polaris That should put us at No. 1 in the nation XP: “Power steering is an available option, for 2008.” but even the UTV without power steering The Goldthwaite store was originally a steers better than 90 percent of the UTVs one-man operation. It is now an eight-per- out there. They have redesigned the frontson operation. The Superstore has relocated end suspension geometry to have less kick

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back on the steering when going over rough terrain, hitting rocks, jerking your hands back and forth. They have changed the rear suspension to give it better weight handling. It doesn’t squat near as bad with the same load on it as the year before. “They have turned the engine sideways to give a narrower seat width; your legs aren’t spread as far apart, making a more comfortable ride. It gives twice as much legroom on the floorboard. The radiators are bigger, running a lot cooler. “The redesign of the transmission and clutch makes for quieter operation, and the speed is better. The low-range on the new XP feels like you are in high range on the other 4-Wheelers. “Shorter people can get in it and sit down, lean back, and use the full function of the seat and feel comfortable. They accomplished this with the tilt steering. They have moved the foot pedals more in front of you instead of off to the side, as they previously were located. The front suspension has been changed to double A-arms, making it easier to steer, smoother, and it gives it more ground clearance. People need to drive a Ranger and see how comfortable they are. “Everything really stands out. Everything combined into one great vehicle makes the 4-Wheeler ten times better than the previous models. Just get on it and drive it; you will see the big difference.” The name Hoffpauir is established and respected the auto business in Central Texas. Hoffpauir dealerships include Ford and Mercury in Lampasas, also a Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick, and Cadillac store. In Marble Falls, you will find the Hoffpauir name on a Chevrolet and Buick dealership. In addition to the Outdoor Superstore in Goldthwaite, Lee Hoffpauir features Cub Cadet and Arctic Cat at his store in Burnet and Arctic Cat in Marble Falls. “We have been in Central Texas for 44 years now, and we couldn’t have stuck around this long if we were steering you wrong. I am just proud as I can be about our PHOTO COURTESY OF HOFFPAUIR OUTDOOR SUPERSTORE


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new store, the Hoffpauir Outdoor Superstore. When I bought it, I knew it had some potential, but I had no idea it would have the success it has had.” Contact: Hoffpauir Outdoor Superstore, 325-648-3341, www.hautogroup.com — TB •••

PUMA Appoints New North America Distributors Puma GmbH IP Solingen, Manufacturer of PUMA knives, is pleased to announce the appointment of PUMA Knife Company USA as exclusive distributors of the PUMA knife brand in the United States, Canada, and. Industry veterans Bob Carpenter and Chris Lalik are heading the new PUMA North America Company. The new distributors

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will be located in Overland Park, Kansas. Since it was formed on the Wupper River in 1769, PUMA has set the standard that established Solingen, Germany, as the world’s premier knife manufacturing center. PUMA is, in fact, the eighth oldest trademark in Germany. PUMA has been distributed in the United States since 1957 and has established a strong reputation for high-quality hunting knives. Bob Carpenter, President of PUMA Knife Company USA, has 15 years experience in the outdoor business at Coast Cutlery. Chris Lalik, Vice President of Marketing and Operations, spent the past 16 years with Bushnell Performance Optics and Meade Instruments. General Manager Harald Lauer said: “We are excited about our new partnership with the PUMA Knife Company USA. The North American market is the biggest knife market in the world, and we look forward to writing the next chapter in the storied history of PUMA in North America.”

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Texas International Boat Show The Texas International Boat Show, presented by American Bank, now in its third year, will again take place at the Corpus Christi Marina from 23-26 April 2009—a truly international show attracting buyers and sellers from around the world with over 50,000 visitors attending the show in 2008. Together on one of the largest boat show sites in Texas will be 400 boats ranging from 10 to 120 feet, in the water and ready for demo, with another 200 boats exhibited ashore. Along with offering a full range of products and services for the active boating lifestyle, the Texas International Boat Show brings the very latest in luxury motor homes, trucks, and custom bikes exhibited alongside Maserati and Ferrari, creating a unique marketplace in a relaxed and leisurely environment.

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Smith & Wesson i-Bolt in .30-06 HE FIRST TIME I SAW THE SMITH & WESSON i-Bolt was at the SHOT show in January 2008. At first, I thought it was a rather clunky-looking gun, with its square fore end and inset sling swivels. Also, the pistol grip at the wrist was a bit different, looking too long and thin, with the grip cap extended farther than normal below the bottom line of the buttstock. Still, when I put the gun to my shoulder, it felt good. When I returned from SHOT, I ordered an i-Bolt for testing. Here is what I found. The camo pattern on the synthetic stock is actually quite attractive as well as functional. The flat-black finish on the metal

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parts is as functional as any I have seen, as is the one-piece bridge mount that came with the gun. This gun is obviously intended for hard use. I mounted a Leupold VariX III 3.5-10X and began testing. First the negatives: The trigger is too creepy. I have all but given up on getting a good trigger straight from the factory. This is a symptom of our modern, lawyer-controlled, litigation-happy age. Almost every gun I have tested in the last few years had far too much creep in the trigger, as if the technician who set it was afraid it would go off. Well, let me tell you a secret: The trigger of a gun is supposed to make it go off. Get real

a n d f i x those triggers! This one, however, unlike some I have seen lately, is not terribly objectionable and light enough to be shootable, breaking at about 3.5 pounds. It is adjustable from 3 to about 6 pounds with a tool included with the gun, but I didn’t attempt to adjust it. The release from the action is not by a button or spring-loaded retainer, but by simply rotating the bolt clockwise into a slot at the rear of the action. Open the bolt, pull it to the rear until it is in the correct location, rotate the bolt handle down, and pull the bolt from the gun. One problem did appear with this system; several times, when I was shooting the gun from the bench, I worked

TEXAS TESTED Continued from Page N11 Rat-L-Trap’s rattle chamber. Contact: Daiwa Corporation, 562) 8029589, www.daiwa.com —Lenny Rudow

IT’S TOUGH TO ASSESS THE EFFECTIVENESS OF fuel additives, so I tested the latest and greatest in gasoline treatments, StarBrite StarTron for several months with a pair of Honda 90s before I thought I could put my foot down and say, “Yes, this is stuff is good enough to run through your precious outboards.” StarTron is unlike other additives because it is an enzyme-based solution. The enzymes naturally modify the way fuel burns by changing the hydrocarbon’s molecular structure. It allows more oxygen molecules to attach to the fuel, improving the burn and boosting efficiency. The better burn reduces N16

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carbon build-up on piston crowns and exhaust valves, while also removing deposits from injectors, valves, pistons, and spark plugs. As long as StarTron is in the system, it prevents carbon deposits from forming, too. I tried testing it by running one of the twin 90s with StarTron and the other without on a power cat with two separate fuel tanks (one for each motor.) After about a month, I first noticed the difference with my ears, as the StarTron treated motor simply sounded smoother and quieter. Then I noted a difference at the pump; not a huge difference, but when I filled up the no-StarTron tank, it would take a hair more than the treated tank by about a gallon per 50-gallon

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fill-up. That’s a small enough difference to account to other factors, but if it’s a coincidence, it’s one I hadn’t noticed before. If you lay up your boat for long periods, note that StarTron stabilizes fuel by improving octane and removing water, varnish, and gum. Though I cannot confirm nor deny the claim from my own testing, StarBrite claims StarTron can boost the octane rating of old fuel by as much as three points. The enzymes also clean the fuel by “eating” microbe growth and breaking water down into microscopic clusters. Unlike other fuel additives, which often use alcohol and detergents to treat water in the fuel, StarTron isn’t hard on fuel lines and seals. An 8-ounce bottle treats about 16 gallons of fuel per ounce. Contact: StarBrite, 800-327-8583, www.starbrite.com —LR

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the bolt to chamber another cartridge, and as I pushed the bolt forward, it dropped accidentally into the bolt release slot rather than pushing another round into the chamber. I don’t want the bolt released until I decide to release it. I want it sliding forward and backward as smoothly as possible, without binding. This needs to be changed, since it could happen when the buck or bull of a lifetime is in your sights—or worse, when that bear is about to start chewing on your bootlaces. Additionally, when I tried to put one of my slings (equipped with Uncle Mike’s quick-release sling swivels) on the gun, the swivels would not go into the studs. The problem turned out to be that the studs were too thick, and the gap between the swivel pin and the point where the spring-loaded closure plate is attached was too small. There is no way that this was tested or it would have been obvious. I tried several different sling and swivel combinations and none would fit. Consequently, the gun went slingless. Other than those things, the gun is quite well put together. I especially like the short bolt-lift and the visible cocking indicator. The Remington-type safety has two safe positions, one where the trigger is disengaged but the bolt is free (which allows clearing the gun with the safety engaged), and one where the bolt is locked. This seems like a very good system, and I like the concept. The recoil pad is thick and soft, with a non-slip finish. Stock-to-metal fit could be better, but is properly fitted in the places that matter. Mechanically, the i-Bolt is a rugged gun, using a push-feed action. The bolt is big and solid, with a Sako-style extractor inset into the side of the bolt head, and a Remingtontype plunger ejector. The three locking lugs

Continued from Page N15 Add to this live music from The Bahamas each day, fashion shows, live bands on stage Friday and Saturday evening, a full blown international wakeboard exhibition and tournament on-thewater along the Corpus Christi Bayfront, plus plenty of fun for the children, and you have the Texas International Boat Show 2009.

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pulled. In the interest of consumer safety, we are initiating this recall to allow for the prompt inspection and, if necessary, the repair and replacement of each bolt. This recall applies to the bolts of all iBolt rifles manufactured by Smith & Wesson prior to December 1, 2008.

on the head of the bolt make for a stiff, solid action that should give long service and good accuracy. The barrel, made by Thompson/Center, is 23 inches long and has a 1-in-10 twist. Three-shot groups with various ammunition, including handloads, averaged about 2 inches. Now, understand that this is an average. This gun appeared to like some loads and not others. It loved 180-grain Trophy Bonded Bear Claws, but hated 165-grain Hornady InterLock soft points. It liked 165-grain Nosler Partitions, but not 165grain Hornady SST InterBonds. Groups ran from the smallest of 1.31 inches to the largest of 2.9 inches. The gun shot 180grain Bear Claws best (that was the 1.31inch group), averaging less than 1.5 inches. With the 165-grain Nosler Partitions, it averaged just over 1.6 inches. Either of those fine bullets will do about anything you can reasonably ask a .30-06 to do. The model I tested is the i-Bolt. Overall, I think this is a good gun, especially for the modest price. I expect if you buy one, it will give you long and satisfactory service. My downside factors are all rather minor— except for the bolt release problem, which really needs to be remedied—and are outweighed by the gun’s positive attributes. I would therefore recommend this gun for the average deer hunter searching for a good, moderately priced rifle.

STOP USING YOUR RIFLE Any unintended discharge of a firearm has the potential for causing injury, and we ask that you stop using your rifle until we have an opportunity to inspect the bolt to make certain that there is no condition, which will allow the striker to disengage. To facilitate the inspection and repair, if necessary, of your rifle bolt, please contact Smith & Wesson’s customer service department to receive instructions and a call tag for the return of your bolt to Smith & Wesson When you return your bolt to Smith & Wesson, be sure to attach the completed information card received from Smith & Wesson, so that your bolt can be inspected and repaired, and returned to you as quickly and efficiently as possible. When your rifle bolt is returned, you should note a punch dot on the handle of the bolt. This punch dot is confirmation that your bolt has been inspected and is safe to use. Please contact Smith & Wesson directly at 1-800-331-0852 or at ibolt@smith-wesson.com to arrange for the inspection and repair, if necessary, of your bolt. For on-line service, see www.smith-wesson.com.

RECALL NOTICE Smith & Wesson has identified a condition that may exist with the bolt supplied with some i-Bolt rifles that would allow the striker to become disengaged from its locking tabs during cycling of the bolt, allowing the rifle to fire without the trigger being

INDUSTRY INSIDER EVENTS

and Waterski Exhibition, located on Corpus Christi Bayfront, presented by Texas Ski Ranch, MasterCraft, and Gulf Coast Marine.

- Thursday, 23 April, 10:30 a.m., Opening Ceremony: The Texas International Boat Show will be officially opened by Mayor Henry Garrett at the Corpus Christi Marina, People’s Street T-Head, Corpus Christi. - Friday and Saturday, 24-25 April, 57 p.m.: Live evening entertainment from the Budweiser Stage. - Daily: The Wakeboard Tournament A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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Blinds HE PORTABLE BLIND—IS IT A GOOD THING, or overrated in the hunting world? These are some of the questions that have haunted outdoorsmen ever since the pop-up blind was invented. We have all watched the outdoor TV shows that advertise and use these blinds, and most have success with them. I have used them, and must say that they are an undeniable asset for some types of outdoor activities. I have found through trial and error, however, that not all hunting situations are suited to pop-up blinds. Last year, I wrote that for hunting turkey with a bow, these blinds are necessary. For some reason, the birds do not see the big square box in the field, and if they do, pay absolutely no attention to it. This allows the bowhunter to get a very close shot, ending an exciting hunt. Quality ground blinds by com-

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panies like Ameristep and Double Bull are flat out awesome for turkey. As of this writing, I have had no success at all hunting whitetails with a pop- up blind, and examined my setup to determine why. On the plus side, these blinds can be set up just about anywhere you choose. They can be tucked up amongst the thickest cover you can find, or just placed in the middle of a field. I would guess that if it were placed in position well in advance of whatever season you hunt, success would not be far behind. Some have 360-degree shooting capability, while others have multiple windows from which to shoot. Both have proven to work and work well. Another valuable asset while using this type of blind is the fact that you can film your hunt undetected. I like to bring my own camera operator, but it is not necessary. A small tripod for your video camera works just as well. Movement while in the blind is hidden from the game you are pursuing. This gives you plenty of time to get you and your camera in position for a hunt to remember for years after you leave the field. I have found that it is

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a great way to introduce a child to the outdoor world. While in the blind, they can feel secure near you and move around a bit, as they learn what hunting is all about. For hunters that experience vertigo or just cannot hunt from a tree stand, the portable ground blind is a welcome answer to stay concealed in the woods. If your heart is racing because you are nervous being up in the air, your shot will never be true. On the con side, you have to carry a portable blind to your hunting spot. More often than not, these hunting areas are not very close by. It could very well be 3/4 to a mile away from your vehicle. You need to bring a seat of some sort with you as well. Now, consider the weight of the blind itself, the seat, the backpack, the bow or other weapon of choice, and I guarantee that it will not be an easy task. We do hunt to have fun, and lugging a metaphorical ton of equipment is not lot of fun. Even if you set up pre-season and leave the blind there, if a thief does not get it, high winds will. We all have heard that the woods are deer’s living room, and if we bring an extra couch in, they are going to see it. No matter what I did to hide my blind, the deer stared at it as soon as they stretched their heads into the clearing. I had so many leafy branches on it, it looked like a rain forest. Although I felt it was hidden well, the deer still saw that they had a new couch. I should mention that the hogs were not impressed with my portable blind, either. Even with their limited eyesight, hogs still knew something was not right. Does this mean pop-up blinds never work for deer or hogs? Of course not, but so far, they have not worked for me. Overall, I see these blinds as a good thing. As with anything, however, it has some good points and some bad. However, anything that helps introduce a child to the great outdoors gets my vote. I will get my deer and hogs with other methods. E-mail Lou Marullo at lmarullo@fishgame.com.


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Outboard Troubleshooting 101 O YOU REMEMBER THE DAYS WHEN YOU could pop the cowl on your outboard and understand what you saw?

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The carburetor, fuel pumps, air filters, and spark plugs were like old friends, and you knew how to make them happy. Today, however, the puzzle of wires, hoses, and computer chips is overwhelming. If you want to fix a simple problem with a modern internal combustion engine, you need a laptop computer and an engineering degree...or do you. In reality, you can diagnose and fix the majority of on-the-water outboard problems with basic troubleshooting knowledge, simple tools, and opposable thumbs. Electrical problems are among the most common reasons we call the towboat. The motor will not turn over or it surges and misses. First, let’s assume you have a fully charged battery. If not, there truly is not much you can do short of calling for help. To determine if the battery is your problem, try tilting the outboard up and down with the electric trim switch. If it moves at the usual rate of speed, you know you have plenty of juice. But what if nothing happens when you turn the key? Yes, yes, I know you are an experienced boater and already made sure the throttle is in neutral, but do it again. Even if it looks right, shift into and out of gear once or twice, listen for the clicks, and be sure it is in neutral. You would be amazed at how often boaters are “rescued” with this simple fix. If that fails, try turning the key and holding it down while you jiggle that throttle again, as temperamental safety switches need to be finessed just so.

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Your next suspect should be the connections at the battery and at the starter. If you see any green or white crud, you have probably found the problem. Remove the wires, make sure the connections are perfectly clean by scrubbing them off with a wire brush, and tighten them back in place. If you get a crank but the motor will not catch and run, this could be the kill switch. Even if the lanyard clip is in place, the switch might prevent starting. This often happens when the switch is horizontal on top of the helm station, which allows water to pool on top of and eventually get into the switch, causing a short. Luckily, on most engines it is easy to disable the switch. Look for a black wire with a yellow stripe that leads to the ignition, and disconnect it. Try the key again. Fuel issues are another reason why outboards might fail to start, miss, or run intermittently. These problems can be tough to solve on the spot, particularly if they relate to a complete absence of fuel. Even the best of us have run the tanks dry at one time or another. Remember that marine fuel gauges are notoriously unreliable, and always double-check your fuel supply before leaving the dock. If you cannot get the motor running and you know there is fuel in the tank, the first step is to make sure it is getting to the motor. The easiest way to do so is to look at the primer ball. If it is tightly sucked in and collapsed, you might have a blocked fuel vent not allowing air to displace the fuel leaving the tank. This is a common occurrence when running a small motor on a portable fuel cell, which has a thumbscrew type of F i s h

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vent. Boaters often close the vent after a day on the water, and then forget to re-open it on the next trip. If the primer ball is full in size but easy to squeeze and does not get hard as you pump it, then you probably have air getting into the system. The most common cause is a leaky fuel line, sucking in air or spurting fuel, or you might also have a bad connection at the tank or where the fuel line meets the outboard. Finally, check your filters and water separators. If these are clogged, that can also prevent fuel from getting to the motor. If you think you have water in the fuel on multi-tank boats but you do not have enough fuel in any one tank to get home on, try this trick: Partially open the valve between the tanks so the motors draw from one more than the other. You might find that one tank is problematic and the other is not, and you might discover that you can try different “mixes,” get it running, and head for home. Cooling systems are another part of your outboard that might be fixable on the water. Always keep your eye on the telltale, and make sure your water flow is adequate. If the telltale is not peeing yet the motor appears to be operating normally, you probably have some grit clogging the port. To open it up, thread heavy monofilament fishing line through the telltale and spin it around. This is enough to break most minor clogs free. If the telltale is not peeing and the temperature alarm starts ringing, you have a more serious problem. Luckily, a blocked intake, which is the most common cooling problem, is the easiest to fix. After shutting down, tilt the motor up and make sure the intakes are clear. An impeller gone bad is the next most common way to lose your cool. The best way to solve this problem is to avoid it by regularly changing the impeller and thoroughly flushing your outboard with freshwater after every saltwater run. This keeps the flexible arms of the impeller in good condition.


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The temperature gauge is going berserk, and you are positive the cooling system is functioning just fine. If you have a directinjection two-stroke, check your oil pump and make sure it is feeding oil into the mix. The problem could also be a stuck thermostat. Sometimes you can pop them free, scrub off any grit that has them clogged, and get back on task. If you are unsure if this is the problem but can make it back to the dock, you can troubleshoot the thermostat back at home. Remove it from the engine and use a pair of tongs to hold it in a pot of water placed on the stove. Put a thermometer in the pot as well, and watch the temperature rise as you turn up the heat. If the thermostat does not open at the correct temperature (refer to your owner’s manual to find out what it is for your specific outboard), then you know it needs to be replaced. If it does open, something else is amiss. Vibrations are another cause for concern, and your prop usually holds the answer. Bent blades or large dings and chinks can cause the boat to shake hard enough to rattle your fillings. If you carry a file onboard, you can perform some emergency repairs by

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just filing down the offending sections of the propeller. It will not be perfect and you will probably have to live with a certain amount of vibration until returning to shore, but it should be less noticeable. Make sure you reduce speed and go home at a crawl if necessary to eliminate all that shaking. Run hard with excessive vibrations, and there is a good chance you will do serious damage to other parts of the boat or engine. Motor mounts are also surprisingly common culprits when this issue crops up. You

would not think to check them often, but when excessive vibrations start shaking your boat apart, look at the motor mounting bolts and the mount itself. One telltale noise is a loud, single “crack� when you throttle up. It is the sound of the threads on the motor mount bolts, snapping across fiberglass as they are mashed through the holes. To fix this problem, simply make sure the nuts and washers

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ZipVac Keeps Game Fresh OST SERIOUS SPORTSMEN APPRECIATE the advantages of vacuum packaging (less freezer burn, extended storage time, more freshness). I have been vacuum packing the bounty from fishing and hunting trips for many years and was excited when I received an invitation to evaluate the new ZipVac system. When my ZipVac arrived, I was a bit surprised how small the box was. My existing vacuum packaging unit has a fairly large form factor, and the ZipVac packaging was

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by Greg Berlocher a fraction the size and weight of my unit. Unpacking the contents, I discovered a bundle of plastic bags and two air pumps. The plastic bags are three layers of plastic that feature a zip-style opening. A circular purge valve on the side of the bag vents air trapped inside the bag. The bags are so tough they can be dropped into boiling water to warm pre-prepared foods on camping trips. The first pump is a small battery-operated handheld, shaped like a pistol grip. A 110-volt electrical plug folds out of one end of the handle to charge the battery; a removable round nozzle adorned the other end.

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The nozzle plugs onto the purge valve on the plastic bags and evacuates the air. The battery holds enough power to seal up to 150 bags. The nozzle can be removed for cleaning. The second pump uses a syringe-like plunger to create suction. The manual pump is equipped with the same type nozzle as the electric version. To use the system, open a bag, fill it with your favorite outdoor harvest, pinch the top shut, and then hook up one of the pumps to the purge valve. A few seconds later, most of the air is evacuated. Very simple. The ZipVac system has a number of advantages. The quart- and gallon-size bags are standard sizes, making is easy to judge how much you can put inside. There are also rectangular fillet bags for fish. The ZipVac system allows you to choose how much air you wish to remove from a bag. This is quite useful if you are trying to package delicate foods such as sandwiches. My existing unit relies on a vacuum sensor, and I can’t turn the pump off until it decides it is finished, leaving sandwiches looking as if they were in an accident with a steamroller. The purge valves on ZipVac bags twist open and shut, eliminating the need for a thermal heat-sealing element in the pump. Since the sides of a bag are not melted together with heat, they are reusable, making them much more affordable than single-use bags. The battery-operated pump holds a charge for quite a while, but there will always be situations when you forget to charge it. The manual pump allows sportsmen to use

the ZipVac system in the field—a very handy feature, as many hunting camps do not have commercial power or generators. In addition to food storage, you can use ZipVac bags to keep matches, medicine, maps, ammunition, and clothing dry. Evacuating the air from a bag is a definite benefit when space is a premium, as inside a backpack. If I were designing the product, I would change one thing: in lieu of the foldout plug, I would substitute a detachable electric cord. Those who go afield occasionally rather than regularly will probably forget to charge the handheld unit before a trip. You either have to wait for the unit to charge, or and move the filled bags up to the pump while it is plugged into the wall. Most countertops in the U.S. are 24-inches wide; adding a detachable 12-inch electric cord to the pump would allow you to work in the middle of the counter space rather than crowding up against the backsplash if your unit isn’t charged. The ZipVac is smaller, lighter, and easier to use than the thermal vacuum packaging system I have been using. Overall, I give the ZipVac system high marks for ease of use, good design, and cost effectiveness. I highly recommend it to all “consumptive” outdoorsmen. Contact: CTI Industries Corporation, 866-382-1707, www.zip-vac.com

Email Greg Berlocher at fishthis@fishgame.com

TEXAS BOATING Continued from Page N21 are flush with fiberglass, and if anything has backed off, take a wrench to it. Mysterious sounds can also be alarming at times, and here is one troubleshooting trick you can use to identify problems that are tough to diagnose. When you hear a funny noise coming from the engine but N22

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you cannot isolate it, use a screwdriver as a stethoscope. Simply put the tip of the driver up against the different parts of the engine and put your ear next to the handle and the screwdriver will magnify the sounds, helping you to figure out exactly where they come from. Of course, this is a basic guide to outboard troubleshooting, and we have F i s h

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touched only on the issues you can address while on the water. However, when you are having trouble away from the dock, you will discover that 80 or 90 percent of the time, one of the problems mentioned above will be the reason. Now, you know how to fix them. E-mail Lenny Rudow at boating@fishgame.com.


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Swimming Worm T HAS OFTEN BEEN SAID THAT THOSE OF US who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Sometimes, that’s not really a bad thing. Those of us who have not been around for over a half-century have never known life without plastic worms in a rainbow of colors—some that resemble nothing in nature— but our fathers and grandfathers probably still recall the first time they walked into a bait

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shop and saw a worm wrapped in plastic rather than in a cup of dirt. Those first worms looked nothing like what we have today; they were roughly worm-colored instead of something called “Atomic Chicken.” Many came pre-rigged with multiple hooks, beads, and in-line spinners. The pre-rigged worms were used to swim the bait through shallow water instead of probing structure, and are all but extinct today with the advent of Texas, Carolina, and drop-shot rigs, but there are still instances where a swimming worm is more effective than just about anything in the water.

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Instead of adding more weight to your tackle bag by purchasing pre-rigged worms (if you can find them), you can make a few with items you already own. I am a firm believer that big baits catch big fish, and a fan of oversized worms. This is especially true when using a swimming worm because, in my mind, the swimmer more closely resembles a snake than a worm. Once upon a time, Crème (the original worm manufacturer) marketed an enormous worm called the Crème Giant. These are no longer available, but a friend made a mold of one of the few he had remaining, and now

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he occasionally pours them for himself. I have “borrowed” a few from him from time to time, and they are outstanding when rigged to swim. Find the biggest worm you can (more lure manufacturers are starting to offer them) for your swimming rig. When done right, a swimming worm doesn’t just swim straight back to you, but can be made to spin, dart, and make other movements that can tangle your line. So, the first part of a swimming rig is a barrel swivel that attaches to your main line. On the other side of the swivel, attach a short monofilament leader (as always, the leader should be made from lighter line than your main line). I prefer a shorter leader, which helps in casting accuracy, but anything up to 18 inches should work just fine. On the end of this first leader (yes first; we’ll get to the second one in a minute), tie a 3/0 worm hook. Here is where the second leader comes in. To the eye of this first hook, tie another short leader (3-6 inches long) and attach another worm hook, this time using a 1/0. Shorter worms require short leaders, while long worms can handle a long second leader. There are a couple ways to attach the worm to the hooks, depending on the type of water you are fishing. In open water with very little danger of snagging grass or brush, you can simply run the first hook through the nose of the worm a few inches before bringing it back out so that the hook is exposed. Repeat this step with the second hook farther down the body of the worm. If you are fishing grass or brush, then rig the hooks as you would on a Texas rig, with the tip pushed back into the worm so that it will not snag. The amount of action imparted on the worm has less to do with your rod tip and more to do with the amount of worm you have between the first and second hooks. If you want the bait to just move slightly, rig it straight. If you want it to roll more, then rig the second hook farther back in the body to put a slight bend in the worm. While the swimming worm is typically a shallow water rig, it can also be used to probe a few feet deep. To get it down deeper, just crimp a split shot on the first leader a few inches below the barrel swivel.

E-mail Paul Bradshaw at freshrigs@fishgame.com. A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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Amen THE NIGHTLIGHT RADIATED AN HOURglass glow against my bedroom wall. Shadows filled the corners and dusky shapes lurked on top of bureaus and chairs. They were familiar objects and raised no alarm. Besides, if something wasn’t recognizable it took only seconds to crawl out of bed and investigate. An electric clock hummed on the nightstand, the shining face whirring away the minutes until the next day. The sheets felt cool and my head sank into the pillow, the pillowcase smelling fresh and feeling soft.

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Everything in my world seemed at peace. But something was missing. The day was not yet finished. Then the sliding door rumbled open and Mama eased into the room. “Honey, are you sleeping?” “No, ma’am, I’m awake.” “Okay, then,” and as she sat on the edge of the bed, we folded our hands, and I concentrated my focus where the nightlight met the shadows. Then we spoke in unison. Dear Father in Heaven look down from above Bless Mama and Papa and those who I Love May angels watch over my slumber and when The morning is breaking awake me — Amen

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Then Mama tucked the covers under my chin, and bent over to kiss me on the cheek. “Goodnight, honey,” she said and eased back out of the room. The door rumbled shut and the day ended. I was satisfied. 2. The big yellow horse plodded up the mountain trail, kicking plumes of frozen mist as it forged through the knee-deep snow. The world was more black and white than color. The sky was still and overcast in solid dreary gray. Only the spruce trees lent a slight variance but the green bows were cloaked in deep billowy inches of snow and the greenery went practically unseen. There was no wind, and as my hunting client rode behind, our walking horses made the only sounds in the silent forest. In all the tranquil beauty, we suffered. The temperature was pinned at 1 degree below zero. I had on long johns, wool pants, and batwing chaps. My top was layered with a T-shirt, long john shirt, flannel shirt, vest, a double thickness of heavy coats, and wool mittens. I couldn’t move. My wool cap was pulled over my ears and my collar was pulled as high as it would tug. The horse’s wooden gait shot spasms along my sore spine, causing me to stiffen with each step. Suddenly, as the critter stepped around a curve and over a root, it stumbled and went to its knees. The sudden pitch forward was too fast. I couldn’t catch myself. Instead, I put a little jump behind my motion and sailed headlong between my mount’s ears. I missed the trail and fell off the side of the hill. Then I lit on my shoulder and rolled, caught my feet, but tumbled again. By the third summersault, I was laughing. Then I flipped sideways, rolled that way a couple of times, and banged to a stop against a stump. For a second, I peered around to see how far I would have scattered down the mountain had the stump not stopped me. Then I glanced up the hill at my hunter. “Are you all right?” he stammered his


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query with concern. “I figured you’d be dead for sure.” I dragged myself to my feet and trudged back up the hill, grinning, surprised at how far I had fallen. The snow was caked on me like thick gooey frosting. “Aw, shoot. The Good Lord watches over me. It’ll take more than getting dumped off a puny mountain to bother us. Besides, I landed in two feet of snow on top of bear grass. You couldn’t ask for a softer mattress. I just wondered how far back up this mountain I’d have to climb.” 3. Times were hard. The outfitter displayed every indication of a business going broke and the hunters weren’t happy. Game was hard to find and there was no meat on the meat pole. If hunting didn’t get better, I was about to shoot one of the tame mule deer in the horse pasture for the sake of saving the camp’s attitude. “You know this outfitter won’t be around much longer,” said a grass-farming client from West Columbia. “I know you’re doing you’re best to cover for him, but...” Besides that, I hadn’t been paid in more than a month and my estranged wife and daughter had flown the coop to whereabouts unknown. That night I shrugged into my bedroll, tucked the Bugs Bunny doll my daughter gave me against my chin, and began reciting the old words: “Dear Father in Heaven look down from above...” After the standard rhyme, I swallowed my pride and asked for help. But I never said “Amen.” It seemed like the conversation was ongoing these days; no need to say goodbye.

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“Herman, the preacher is stuck and can’t make it for the barbecue. Would you pray over the meal for us?” I gazed around. There must have been 600 or 700 people in the hall. They were all my friends, but I hesitated. “Robert, I’m on my third whiskey drink. I got no business praying in front of a bunch of folks.” No sooner had the words left my mouth than I was ashamed. It was an honor to be asked, and I needed to shake off my foolishness and do what was needed. “Wait a minute, Robert, I’ll do it.” Robert and his new wife, Jennifer, joined me on the stage and I took the microphone. “Lord, thank you for today. Thank you for bringing all these friends together for this special occasion. And thank you for this opportunity to share this moment in this young couple’s life. We’re headed into some strange times; watch over us Lord, and thank you for giving this couple the courage to seek each other out, and giving them the courage and desire to move forward together. Again, Lord, thank you for bringing us all together, and thank you for today. Okay… I reckon that’ll do. Let’s eat.” In unison, the congregation said, “Amen!” “Oh, yeah, Amen.” Seems like I always leave the conversation open-ended. Besides, you can’t say goodbye to somebody who is always with you.

E-mail Herman W. Brune at wilderness@fishgame.com.

4. Robert Kollaja, the groom, came up to me at the wedding reception.

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TEXAS SALTWATER

Matt and A Limits of shley Sp Hillman ecks Guide Service

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TEXAS FRESHWATER LAKE AMISTAD ADVERTISERS, MAIL IN YOUR PHOTOS TODAY!

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Bill Brooks 42-inch Redfish ce Hillman Guide Servi

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Tom Wright, Todd , Stephen and Ken Specks and Reds Hugo Ford Guide Se rvice

Benjamin Spaulding Redfish Redfish Charters

TEXAS HUNTING

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SPOTLIGHT: NEWGLASS2 For Classified Rates and Information call Dennise at 1-800-750-4678, ext. 5579. TEXAS HUNTING

NewGlass2 is a space age acrylic polymer. It is designed to seal and protect fiberglass from salt and sun. As fiberglass grows older it develops tiny pores and cracks as the fiberglass dries out. NewGlass2 fills in the pores and cracks as it mechanically bonds to the fiberglass. This adds a coating of hard, shiny acrylic plastic to the surface of your fiberglass. This protective coating of hard acrylic makes colors pop out and the surface shines like new. NewGlass was developed in a marina in Miami to protect fiberglass from the Florida sun. That was 1988, over 20 years ago. NewGlass2 has been protecting boats and RVs ever since then. Improvements have been made over the years and now NewGlass2 is easier to apply, longer lasting and more protective. In Texas, NewGlass2 should last between 14 and 18 months. It is recommended that 2 maintenance coats be applied every 12 months to extend the life of the shine. A quart of NewGlass2 will coat and protect a 25’ center console fishing boat or a 30’ RV. NewGlass2 dries very quickly to a hard, shiny surface. A quart of NewGlass2 sells for $39.95 plus shipping from Florida. No Compounding. No Rubbing. No Buffing. Satisfaction is backed by a 100% Money Back Guarantee. More information is available from Thom and Jennifer at 800 785 7675 or at www.NewGlass2.com. —Thom Goff of NewGlass2 A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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Fajitas & More Texas Gourmet Beef Fajitas (Serves 4-6) REATED 20 YEARS AGO AND PERFECTED OVER time, this Texas Gourmet award-winning recipe is a tried and true favorite. The combination of spices and flavors mixed with a great grilling technique yields a great crowd-pleasing batch of fajitas. 3-4 lbs skirt steak, cut into 6- to 8-inch pieces for ease of grilling 2 sweet onions, cut into 1/2-inch rings 2 poblano peppers, cored, seeded, and sliced thin 2 red or yellow bell peppers, cored and sliced thin 6 cloves fresh garlic, minced 2 Tbs Texas Gourmet Sweet Chipotle Season All 1/2 cup soy sauce 1 can beer 3 Tbs brown sugar 1/2 cup fresh squeezed limejuice 1/3 cup olive oil 1 tsp black pepper Prep the skirt steak—carefully remove the thick membrane or white tissue if attached. Don’t worry about removing every little bit of fat from the beef because the meat is cooked over an extremely hot fire that actually melts the fat away. What is left moistens and flavors the meat. In a large bowl, combine the garlic, soy sauce, beer, brown sugar, limejuice, olive oil, Sweet Chipotle Season All, and pepper. Mix well, then place the fajitas, peppers, and onions in the marinade. Refrigerate and cover for a minimum of 4-6 hours. (If traveling or for ease in storage, you may place in gallon Zip-Loc bags.)

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For the fire: I prefer a hot mesquite and charcoal fire, but gas will work as well. Be careful with gas; the flare-ups will keep you busy and you will be well advised not to leave the grill unattended. When grilling, sear over a direct fire then move the steaks to indirect heat for cooking through. Keep grill closed as much as possible. Total cooking time approximately 12-15 minutes. For the peppers and onions, grill indirectly to keep from burning. Remove steaks and vegetables to a platter and rest for 20 minutes under a loose piece of foil. Slice meat across the grain into 1/4-inch strips, then cut the strips into bite sized pieces. Place pieces into a multi-layered foil pouch in a tray or baking dish. The reason for this is to reserve all the natural juices. Store in a warm oven or grill until ready to serve. Serve with warm flour tortillas, Gringo Guacamole, Cilantro Rice, fire roasted serrano salsa, pineapple-mango pico de gallo, Borracho Beans, sour cream, fresh limes, and grated Colby-Jack cheese.

Borracho Beans This is a great side or supper dish, and can be mashed into refried beans as well. With the addition of the beer, the beans do not keep well and must be refrigerated after cooking if not on a hot stove or fire. Serves 12 to 14. 4 cups uncooked beans (preferably pinto beans) 4 quarts water 1 pound bacon or salt pork, chopped 1 onion- peeled and chopped 2 serrano chilies, chopped 1 cup cilantro, chopped 2 tomatoes, chopped 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced 2 tsp ground cumin 1 tsp freshly ground pepper salt to taste 1 can beer Brown the bacon, drain off half the fat, F i s h

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then add the onion. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes then add the remainder of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce to a light boil, then cover and cook for 2 to 3 hours or until beans are tender and they have made a soup like consistency.

Cilantro Rice This great side dish can accompany fajitas, seafood, grilled meats, and enchiladas. 1 Tbs chicken base (better than bouillon chicken base) 1 tsp minced garlic 1/2 cup fresh cilantro (chopped) 1 cup chicken stock 1 Tbs vegetable oil 1 medium onion diced fine 1-1/2 cup long grain white rice 1-1/2 cup Roma tomatoes diced fine 1/2 jar Texas Gourmet’s Fire Roasted Salsa or (8 oz red salsa) 1 Tbs salt Place the chicken base, garlic, cilantro, and chicken stock in a blender and puree. Transfer to a saucepan and bring to a boil. In a separate large skillet, add the vegetable oil and the onion, brown lightly. Add the rice and stir until rice is heated through and coated with the oil. Add the stock and cilantro mixture and cook on low heat covered for 18 minutes. Add the salsa, Roma tomatoes, and salt and continue to cook until the liquids are absorbed and the rice is done. Contact Bryan Slaven, "The Texas Gourmet," at 888-234-7883, www.thetexasgourmet.com; or by email at texas-tasted@fishgame.com. S P O N S O R E D BY:


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WHITIES—SURFSIDE BEACH, TEXAS

REDFISH—ROCKPORT, TEXAS

BUCK—EDEN, TEXAS

Jacob Gallegos, age 7, of Humble, Texas, caught nine whities in two hours, all weighing 1 to 2 pounds while fishing with his PaPa and MaMa Hastings at Surfside Beach.

Penny King of Iowa Park, Texas, caught this 81/2-pound, 28-inch redfish on the reefs near Rockport, while fishing with guide, Capt. Brent Hopkins. This was her first time fishing the bay.

Cody Brigham, age 13, of Austin, Texas, bagged the buck of a lifetime while hunting at Two Oaks Ranch near Eden, Texas. The buck rated a 159-6/8 B&C by Damuth Taxidermy.

BASS—LAKE AUSTIN, TEXAS

RED SNAPPER—FREEPORT, TEXAS

David Whitehead of Mustang Ridge, Texas, caught this 6-pound, 3-ounce bass on Lake Austin floating a live minnow. This is the largest fish that he has landed on a rod and reel.

Nick Barnett, age 10, of Spring, Texas, caught his limit of red snapper just before Federal regulations outside of 9 miles changed. He was fishing with his dad and friend out of Freeport, Texas, and all caught their limits on dead shad in 1-1/2 hours.

CATFISH—CANYON LAKE, TEXAS

REDFISH—CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS

BLACK DRUM—SABINE LAKE, TEXAS

Tiffani Crumley, age 3, of San Antonio, Texas, Debra Black of George West, Texas, hooked her Kyle Miller, age 4, of Lumberton, Texas, caught caught her first catfish at a pond near Canyon first redfish on a bayfishing trip with her husband this 15-inch black drum while fishing at North Lake. The biggest was 3-1/2 pounds. John in Corpus Christi. The 24-inch red was caught Sabine Lake. on live shrimp under an Alameda cork. A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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Third Time the Charm T WAS THE THIRD TRY FOR TROPHY BLUE CATfish on Gibbons Creek Lake for Don Krysinski, his guest Doug Stegall, and guide Weldon Kirk. On the first try Krysinski, came down with the flu bug days before the trip. On the second try, high winds forced cancellation of the trip. High winds were again threatening a cancellation on the third try, but everyone had made up their minds they were going to fish this time. After all, the catfish bite whether the wind blows or not. Gibbons Creek Reservoir, a coal-fired power plant reservoir close to College Station, is known for its largemouth bass and catfish fishing. Although Krysinski and Stegall didn’t net any double-digit cats, they did bring aboard 27 fish.

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by Tom Behrens For Krysinski, who said he has fished for saltwater fish species along the coast and freshwater crappie, had never tried his luck at catfishing. “I enjoyed it and thought it was quite interesting in the way Weldon went about it,” he said. They started the day off soaking sponge

HOW YOU CAN WIN! TEXAS FISH & GAME HAS GIVEN AWAY OVER 200 TROPHY QUEST TRIPS. TROPHY QUEST is free guided hunting or fishing trips within the state of PHOTO COURTESY OF WELDON KIRK

Krysinski. “The undigested shad hitting the water with a splat alerted the waiting catfish underneath that dinner was being served.” The slip cork, making the same kind of splat noise as it hits the water after being cast, simulates noise of the undigested shad hitting the water. As Doug Stegall (L) and Don Krysinski show off some of the catfish they caught Kirk said, dangle a on their trip to Gibbons Creek Reservoir. hook baited with a piece of shad about 4 feet under the cork, hooks baited with stinkbait and caught a couand the catfish won’t know the difference. ple of fish. While the duo was bringing some Although they caught their share of catchannel cats into the boat, Kirk was busy setfish, they didn’t get into any trophy blue catting up rods with slip corks. He told them to fish. According to Kirk, drifting open water reel in their hooks that they were going to fish is the ticket for big blues at this time of the under the birds. year. The gusting wind wasn’t cooperating “We fished two or three different ways,” said Kirk. “I taught them some ways they for a slow enough drift. Krysinski summed up his Trophy Quest had never fished before, especially under the trip: “For someone who wants to go out and birds using a slip cork and shad.” have a good time, have no problems, no Krysinski, who has fished the coastal work, catfish fishing is a great thing, espewaters for speckled trout under the birds cially great for kids.” knew about that, but fishing for cats “under the birds” was something new, especially since the birds were “big black birds” (cormorants) roosting in trees. “The birds were feeding on shad, but the shad weren’t completely digested when the birds relieved themselves,” explained

Texas. The package includes a guided trip for two people, one night's lodging and all food and beverage (non-alcohol). Winners are responsible for all travel expenses getting to and from the destination point. HERE'S HOW YOU WIN! If you are a TF&G subscriber, your name is automatically entered on our monthly Trophy Quest Trip drawing. If you are a subscriber and would like

SPECIES: blue catfish LOCATION: Gibbons Creek Reservoir GUIDE: Weldon Kirk, 979-229-3103, www.fishtales-guideservice.com

your name entered 15 more times in our next monthly drawing, simply send us an email with your name, address and phone number* to trophyquest@fishgame.com. You can still win even if you are NOT a subscriber. Simply email us with your name, address, and phone number* to trophyquest@fishgame.com and you're entered in our next drawing. One winner is chosen at random each T E X A S

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month. The winner must be available to go on one of two previously scheduled dates. If the winner is unable to attend on either dates scheduled for the TROPHY QUEST TRIP, the winner's name will be returned to the pool for future drawings and another winner will be drawn. *Phone numbers will ONLY be used to contact the winners and will not be used for any other purpose.

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by Barry St. Clair T E X A S

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triper fever is contagious, and once an angler is infected, there is no cure; and that is not a bad thing. Other species are replaced by an all-consuming desire to catch only the mighty striped bass. I must confess, I have been a carrier of the malady since 1988, and the best place in Texas to experience some relief from the symptoms is, without a doubt, Lake Texoma. My favorite photo of all time sits on my desk as I write this article. It shows a very pretty young wife, open-mouthed with astonishment, while holding her first Lake Texoma striped bass. We had hired a guide to take us fishing for the first time on Texoma, and were not disappointed with the results. Limits of quality stripers were caught in short order, and I have been a big proponent of striper fishing and Lake Texoma ever since. Striped bass fishing in Texas is a lucky happenstance. They are not a native species and were first stocked in 1960 by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. Early efforts were largely unsuccessful except for Texoma, which received its first shipment of stripers in 1965. The saltwater fish with the ability to thrive in certain freshwater environments (anadromous) excelled in Texoma. The secret that sets Texoma apart from the dozen or so other lakes supporting striper populations in Texas is simple: Texoma has a natural spawn annually. This occurs because of the high salt content of the watershed surrounding the lake and the length of the rivers that feed it. Both factors are critical to striped bass reproduction and no other lake in Texas can match it. Decent striper populations are maintained on other lakes in Texas by annual stocking, but Texoma replenishes its fishery naturally. Artificial programs cannot compete with nature. Texoma has all the requirements to make it the best striper lake in Texas. Depths of the main lake run 60-100 feet, allowing stripers to find the cool water they need to survive during the dog days of summer. The lake supports an enormous population of shad across its 89,000 surface acres. Not one but two major rivers feed the lake with year-round flow. The result is the perfect striper lake. Texoma’s striper fishery has seen boom and bust years. In 1980, a very successful 52

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spawn resulted in an enormous number of small fish the following season. A large population of big fish in the 15- to 20-pound range was also present in the lake. Angler success was at an all-time high. Even though daily bag limits had been increased to 15 fish per day with five over 20-inches allowed, anglers culled the smaller fish and kept the big ones. This set the stage for a serious decline. Two natural events accelerated the process: A cold winter caused a large die-off of the shad population. The following summer in 1982, record rainfall occurred when most of the big fish were near the Dennison Dam. The lake raised a record 18 feet above normal level, and most of the big stripers went over the spillway and into the Red River. In the ensuing years, Texoma struggled to retain its glory. In order to help rebuild the population of fish over 20 inches, new regulations went into effect in 1996. The daily bag limit went to 10 fish per day and only two could be over 20 inches in length. Angler response to the changes was favorable. Since those changes, Texoma’s striper fishery has steadily improved, and today it remains the most productive lake with the highest daily bag limit for the species in the state. One of the great aspects of the striper fishery is it remains active almost yearround. The very cold months of winter slows them down some when water temperatures drop into the 40s, but that time of year is when the female fish are at their heaviest, getting ready to spawn. Anglers with the proper mettle and preparation can catch the big ones—if they can stand the cold. The rest of the year, stripers move up and down the lake. Generally, they move up the rivers to spawn in late winter, into the mouths of the main lake coves in spring, into the main lake in the summer, and back to the mouth of the main lake coves in fall. Usually, they are always hungry. Both shad-imitating lures and live bait will catch them. In the summer of 2008, my wife and I returned to Texoma to sample the awesome striper fishing. In order to make maximum use of our time and get on some fish quickly, we opted to go on a guided trip. We chose to fish with Bill Carey’s Striper Express, operating out of Highport Marina just northwest of Pottsboro, Texas. Bill is an old friend and we have used his guide service several times over the years. There are few guides as knowledgeable and

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Lakes hit by golden aglae have recovered remarkably. experienced on Texoma as Bill and his son, Chris. Bill has been on the lake for 25 years and knows the striper business like a rancher know his cattle. He and Chris are well versed in the what, when, where, and how of stripers. I cannot recall a trip with Bill that ended in disappointment. On the appointed day near the end of July, my wife, Gail, and I met Chris at Highport Marina at 6 a.m. We said howdy, shook hands, and roared off toward the sunrise. Stripers surface-feed early and late in the day, and we hoped to enjoy some topwater action before the sun peeked over Oklahoma, which borders the north and east sides of Texoma. We were not disappointed. As we motored around a point on the main lake, the surface erupted in frenzied stripers slashing at shad they had rounded up and pushed to the surface. A quick shove on the throttle got us upwind of the feeding school, and we let them come to us. Eagerly, we cast topwater lures into the melee. As soon as a lure hit the water, a hungry striper would grab it. The fish would stay up for a few minutes and then go back down, only to come up again several hundred yards away. Off we would go after them, giggling like excited school kids. It was exhilarating. Too soon, we caught our 10fish per person limit and headed back to the dock. What a great experience. Texoma is awesome! Contact: Bill Carey’s Striper Express, 877-786-4477, www.striperexpress.com

PHOTO BY GRADY ALLEN

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ONCE READ SOMEWHERE THAT A GREENwinged teal has 11,450 feathers, most of which I am certain go untouched by the average hunter. With that thought in mind, and with the March migration of teal and other ducks to their northern breeding grounds underway, I think it appropriate to reflect on the past waterfowl season I can’t remember another season I enjoyed more. Whether lying in a coffin-like hole dug into a peanut field near Knox City and watching Canada geese make an almost suicidal approach to a spread of 200 decoys, huddled in a sea grass-covered duck blind in the coastal flats at Seadrift, or simply lying alone on the banks of a stock tank on a Stephens County ranch, it was a great season for me. Of course, I like to eat ducks and geese— smoked, chicken-fried, or made into fajitas— so those rewards were there, but that’s not all that hunting ducks and geese is about. Watching the birds respond to a decoy spread or call and enjoying the friendship of other hunters are what make duck hunters rise from their beds in the wee hours of morning, struggle to put on a pair of waders that are too tight, and head out into the darkness, come rain, sleet, or snow, are the true rewards of a waterfowl hunt. The special teal-only season in September is a great kickoff for those of us who love to hunt ducks. The action usually comes early and ends quickly if the teal are there. If they aren’t, the prospect of the hunt itself is enough to make getting out of the house with the hopes of smelling a little gunpowder more than worthwhile. Besides, you

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Making Memories Memorable Reflecting on the travesties and triumphs of past seasons gives outdoors experiences renewed value can learn a lot on a teal hunt, including things that have nothing to do with teal. Several years ago while living in Fort Worth, I drove to the southern end of Toledo Bend Reservoir to hunt teal during the early season. Well, actually, I went there to do a little bass fishing, too, and mixing in a little early-morning teal hunting before picking up my fishing rod seemed appropriate. I arrived at a marina operated by a friend named Mike about an hour before daybreak. Mike was sitting at a small table sipping a cup of coffee. A bowl of peanuts lay on the table beside a crumpled napkin. I sat down and our discussion quickly turned to my prospects of bagging a few teal in the back of Mill Creek, where the willows grow thick. As we talked, I helped myself to the peanuts in the bowl, and before I realized it, there wasn’t a peanut left. “My gosh, Mike,” I said. “I’m sorry, but I just ate all of your peanuts.” Mike’s expression didn’t change. “That’s okay, Bob,” he said. “I already sucked all of the chocolate off them.” I considered the incident a learning experience, but that wasn’t the only thing I have learned while on a duck or goose hunt. Maybe you have learned some things, too, such as how some very small items can help make your waterfowl hunt more pleasant. T E X A S

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For example, I carry a belt pouch with three zippered compartments to carry “extras” that hunting buddies have taught me to carry into the field. Many hunters do not realize the amount of rust that can appear on the brass of a shotgun shell almost within minutes while hunting around saltwater. A can of spray oil and small rag should be used immediately after the hunt to protect unused shotshells, and also on your shotgun, parts of a bird strap, and other metal items. It is best to apply it in the field before you put your gun and other items in a case. An extra flashlight such as a cap light, a duck strap, small package of disposable hand wipes, bottle of water, extra chokes, and even a camera for recording the hunt as well as immediately afterward rather than back at your vehicle or hunting camp all come in handy and don’t take up much room in a utility bag or belt pouch. I bet you can think of some items you can fit into a small pouch that will make your hunt more enjoyable, too, whether after ducks, geese, deer, turkey, hogs or any of our other great renewable natural resources.

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MARCH 1991

25th ANNIVERSARY

he productive anglers on most Texas waters are those that control their lure in a manner to entice a bass to eat it. Proper lure depth and speed control, in addition to correct lure selection and placement of the cast, are essential to fool predators, particularly the larger ones. A lure that utilizes sounds, looks, vibration, smell, or the right combination of these characteristics can attract active or “neutral” bass. Fish rely on their vision, lateral lines, hearing, and, to a lesser extent, a sense of smell to determine the prey to strike. The predator can view the prospective food item off to its side, but it must always turn and face the target before striking. With both eyes looking forward, the bass can judge distance and make the evaluation on whether or not to strike and if positive, where to strike or aim. When selecting lures, try to appeal to the bass’ senses, their penchant for intake efficiency, and their inherent attraction to vulnerable prey. Larger lures will normally entice strikes from larger bass. If the bait appears to be “live” forage, bass will, when given a choice, go after the biggest mouthful possible. If you are after monster bass, toss king-size lures, or the real thing, shiners. To increase strikes from those bass that may be in a “neutral” activity state, a bait should appear vulnerable as well as edible. The action imparted to a lure should suggest that it is in trouble. A weak, unaware “prey” will convince a bass to strike. On the other hand, bass seldom pay attention to prey or lures that move quickly by out of their striking range. Healthy-appearing baits are normally chased by only those bass that are actively feeding. Bass are either actively seeking food, or they are not. Most of the time, bass are inactive, and at anyone time, only a small percentage are foraging. Lure tossers have the best chance at aggressive feeding fish. Surface and shallow water feeding activity are more commonly observed when fish are actively feeding. Reeds and other emergent vegetation are bumped as concentrations of bass move through an area. 54

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TEXAS FISH & GAME MAGAZINE

SPECIAL FEATURE

by Larry Larsen T E X A S

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Occasional surface strikes can be noted and anglers tossing topwater lures can do well at these times. When a bass is getting ready to strike at forage, it will “warm up.” This is an exercise that entails flexing its gills and jaws repeatedly. It’s like they are stretching those facial muscles that play a part in their feeding in order to be in shape for that activity. These fish move quickly toward a lure with mouth closed and, when very nearly touching the selected target, flare their gills while simultaneously opening their mouth widely. The lure is sucked into the cavity, along with the water around it. The gill covers are opened to allow the great amount of water intake to escape. Once the intended “victim” is inside the mouth, the gill covers are closed, which expels the remaining water and dislodged scales from the baitfish or inedible debris. These fish move energetically about, “slashing” at high-speed lures. Hard strikes right at the gunwale are more common when in a feeding migration. The active bass are competitive and race to get a vulnerable prey before other family members have their shot. Isolated fish will follow a lure for a long way when “super charged.” The quiet approach should be used when pursuing active fish. They are easily spooked. When bass are active, most of their predators are also. The moon influences that, and bass seem to know it. They swim in fright from strange noises or sights. Many of their predators are from outside the watery environment, so bass are particularly suspicious of movement and sounds at the interface of their watery medium with air. Inactive fish can be induced to strike and, in fact, a majority of our catches on “moderate-to-slow” days could be of this nature. Bass are slow to move on a lure, but will, if it appears vulnerable. If it remains in the productive zone long enough, the bait will be sucked in by the inactive, but curious fish. Bass in this state are generally conserving energy, digesting food, or waiting for an ideal feeding opportunity. Strikes are not normally aggressive. Seldom will they make a surface splash to attract prey. They are deliberate and feed cautiously. Slow-moving baits attract the most attention from these fish. Thus, plastic worms and jigs are often a good choice for enticing a fish population that is “turned off.” Such baits remain near to the inactive bass, while it makes up its mind whether or not to strike. How an angler offers the lure to a bass is paramount to his success. If an inactive bass lies deep in cover, you have to get a lure to 56

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Sometimes a topwater, sometimes a deepdiver--either way, lunker largemouths succomb to the stalwart angler. him. That lure has to be in his face, for as long as possible too. A slow-moving variety will generally work better on inactive bass than a speedy one. Resting fish are not much different than people. They are not interested in expending a lot of energy, even to eat. Inactive bass lie in the shade behind or under the heaviest cover available. They rest and ambush from such a location. For example, they’ll lie under the trunk of a fallen tree, on the shady side. A lure presented to that side that reaches through the peripheral limbs will attract their attention, even when resting. The flipping technique is ideal for reaching these fish, and if they are in an inactive state, chances are slim that a boat moving overhead will spook them. Swimming a jig-n-pig or flipping worm down between the branches on the shady side should be the ticket here. Crankbait anglers often fail to produce by offering only a fast, steady retrieve. Those that learn to slow the lure down, or to make it swim erratically, normally do better. The ultra-slow motion appeals to their vulnerability and the stop-and-go type action implies (to the bass) that the target may get away in a final “lunge.” Interested bass are normally too curious to let that happen. When fishing a weedline or uneven bank, the angler can do well to toss parallel to it. That increases the likelihood of running a lure past a bass stationed in a hole, peering out. F i s h

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More time in the potential strike zone means more hookups. Both active and non-active bass face “out” with their tails in the thickest cover. They don’t take kindly to a nudge from behind, so a lure placed there will usually spook them. A Texas-rigged worm placed in front of a buried bass will often entice a strike. The inactive bass may just check it out by quickly inhaling the worm, and then expelling it. That can happen fast, so the angler should beware. Line watching is critical when fishing these baits near inactive fish. The bass just don’t get as excited about a sub-surface lure as they would one on top. Lunker bass in particular hang out deeper and farther back in dense cover. My scuba diving observation of the largemouth in clear waters has driven that point home. On the edges of cover are small yearling bass. Back in the “near darkness” are the trophies that make up bass anglers’ dreams. Protection and better hiding places for their ambush are the attraction. On waters with some surface cover, lunkers may be several yards back under the canopy of vegetation. Any structure projecting up through the mass can be focused upon when fishing it. Lures that can punch through the pockets, or make holes if needed, are required. Lunker bass frequently take a deeper-presented bait. Angle of cast, distance, lure depth, and retrieve speed in light of the water and weather conditions present are important considerations in lure presentation. Variations in any of the parameters can alter the results. A startling example for me occurred when I was just 17 years old. My brother and two older friends had accompanied me to a one-acre farm pond belonging to a relative. The four of us waded the brush-filled waters wearing old tennis shoes and blue jeans. We were waist deep most of the time, as we cast side by side to both visible structures and open water in front of the dam. Our baits were the same, and even our line was of similar test. The results were not. Our combined catch totaled maybe 50 bass, most of which were small and quickly released, but I was doing something right. The six largemouth keepers, which ranged from two to five pounds, all hit my injured-minnow lure. The stringer clipped to my belt loop was impressive. My partners tossing into the same spots ahead of me were confounded with the results, or their lack of results. One of them, PHOTO BY SOC CLAY


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an outdoor writer for the local paper, referred to the events as “all luck” in his column the following day. I certainly can’t say that that landing the only large fish was all skill, but something was subtly different. Our retrieve rates appeared the same, but my old my spinning reel might have had a different retrieve ratio, causing a lure speed difference. My sense of feel might have detected the strikes better. Since more fish are inactive at any one period of time, lures that move slower should generate more strikes. It’s a good idea to work a bait slowly until fish are contacted, and then either increase the speed or change to a faster lure. In this way, you are fishing for all fish, regardless of activity state, and can pick up the pace after a catch to determine if an active concentration has been found. During a major Solunar period when feeding may be underway by many bass, then faster lures will cover more ground and draw strikes from the excitable foragers. Afterwards, slow down the retrieve again to appeal to inactive fish also. When bass are not concentrated, slower is better for the stringer, and for heavyweights. No one loves to toss a crankbait more

than I. My tackle boxes are full of them and they’ve all been wet. But a majority of my fish have been fooled by a worm. Like it or not, the plastic wiggler is more productive than other baits over a year’s period. The reason? Action, scent, and softness contribute, but it is just in front of a bass longer than most other baits. The predator has time to develop a response to the lure. My favorites are Berkley’s relatively new Power Worms, which offer bass-attracting scent and taste. Topwater plugs fished extremely slow can entice inactive fish. We have all worked on stubborn bass with the twitch-and-let-sit retrieve. It’ll produce, but for best results save the surface skimmers for active times or active fish. When the lake seems to “come alive” with the sounds of random splashing in and around the cover or even in the middle, bass are feeding. At such times, they are not at all reticent to strike a lure on top. Artificial topwater baits attract those predators that seem intent on busting the lure into a million pieces. The bass are excited. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out. They’re “activated” for foraging. Flipping is an extremely effective technique for pulling bass from heavy cover. It

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takes a mental adjustment by the angler, however, to be successful at it. It evolves around a much slower pace than “run-andgun” spinnerbaiting. An intense, extremely observant, yet laid-back attitude is usually best suited for this technique. The fish in such heavy cover are inactive and it sometimes takes patience to either provoke one to strike, or find another bass in a biting mood. It’s a slow way to cover a lot of ground, but a concentration of inactive fish spread throughout a dense weedbed or submerged bushes may be more worthwhile than an elusive migration of feeding bass. Very successful anglers utilize the yo-yo style of vertical jigging during the course of a day and understand the activity level and position of the fish. They have also modified their attitude, and their technique. Understanding the activity level and expected response of the bass should help Texas anglers catch more bass this spring. Learning what normally happens beneath the surface will provide an angler some insight in lure presentation. The results should prove that.

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Pitching Junk LMOST EVERY BATTER IN MAJOR LEAGUE baseball will tell you that the worst pitcher to face is the junk artist. It is easy to underestimate the one of these pitchers because they are look so unimpressive. Their fastball clocks in the low 80s, and they don’t have an overpowering slider or curve ball to make up for it. I’m going to shell this guy, you think as you watch him warm up. This is going to be fun. During the course of the game, you hit two

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long fly balls that get caught on the warning track, chop a screaming one-hopper to the shortstop that turns into a nifty 6-4-3 double play, and you strike out chasing a slow hook that dives into the dirt in front of your bat after you fouled 500 feet left and 500 feet right. You head to the clubhouse thinking you did all right, but your stat sheet say you went 0 for 4. That is exactly what PETA is like. The junk it pitches makes it very easy to write off as a pack of silly bunny-huggers, but at the end of the day, they are a lot more dangerous than some sportsmen give them credit for. PETA doesn’t try to send a screaming fastball at your head as do the more militant groups, such as Animal Liberation Front (which PETA supports and fronts for) or its lunatic fringe membership, the Animal Liberation Militia. You won’t hear of PETA

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actively firebombing laboratories that conduct animal testing, or committing violence against furriers. Members of PETA are a bit different from their terrorist kin. They use a softer, tonguein-cheek approach that almost borders on flippancy. In the past, PETA has offered antifishing strategies such as alternatives to fishing (which included “Swimming Upstream” in your living room); a person dressed as a giant carp named “Gill” who attended fishing tournaments around the country, trying to discourage fishing; and a takeoff on the classic “What Would Jesus Do?” campaign that claimed with the sort of certainty reserved only for saints and martyrs that Jesus certainly would not fish. More nefarious, PETA campaigners distribute to children bloodily graphic comic books with titles such as “Your Daddy Kills Animals” that targets “dads who are teaching their kids to abuse animals” by taking them fishing. The latest PETA campaign involves renaming fish as “sea kittens.” Apparently, the thinking is that it would be harder to kill a “sea kitten” than a fish. “People don’t seem to 58

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like fish,” the new campaign claims. Who can hate a “sea kitten?” Go ahead and laugh. I had a good chuckle about it when one of my students put a copy of the PETA Sea Kitten campaign in my box. I thought it was hilarious. After thinking about it, it wasn’t very funny anymore. PETA is not looking to convert any fishermen. Who ever heard of a fisherman saying to his buddies, “I’m not sure about this fishing business any more. This sea kitten thing has me thinking I should take up needlepoint.” The real targets are children and young people—who are naive, gullible, and easily influenced, quick to buy into “hip” causes. It seems PETA has given up on our generation. We grew up reading Texas Fisherman and learning about the double clinch knot and how to thumb a spool to prevent backlashes. Our programs were hardwired long before PETA came along. We are a lost cause; it makes no sense to throw heat at us. Our children are the tabula rasa on which PETA hopes to etch its agenda, working inward from the fringe. It wants the sane adults among us to believe PETA is a bunch of fuzzy, hamster-

kissing, irreverent jokesters to shrug off and ignore, derided and made fun of because they are not a real threat. Their fastballs clock in the low 80s, and they have no power slider or curveball to compensate for it. Some readers might think I am a bit paranoid, but let me share this: A student enrolled in one of my English classes recently. She stayed for one period. Later in the day, she walked in with a change of schedule form from the Guidance Department. That’s no big deal; a teacher signs dozens of those over the course of the year. “Don’t you want to know why I’m getting out of your class?” she asked. “Do I need to?” I replied. She pointed at my desk chair, which was covered with nilgai hide. “I can’t stay in a class where the teacher promotes violence against animals.” They are after our kids.

E-mail Calixto Gonzales cgonzales@fishgame.com


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More Silly Rules Y THE TIME THIS ISSUE OF TEXAS FISH & Game hits the newsstands or your mailbox, several things affecting offshore fishing will probably have hap-

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pened. I will have attended a meeting of the Mackerel Advisory Panel to the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council in New Orleans to go over an extensive assessment of the state of the king mackerel fisheries, both commercial and recreational. From the data I was sent to study in preparation for the meeting (mostly pseudo scientific gobbly-goop that does more to keep those who created it employed in explaining what it means than in actually measuring the health of the fishery), the conclusion will be that king mackerel are in good shape, and few, if any, changes will be necessary to keep them that way in the near future. Right now, we are still looking at a twofish per angler daily limit, with a limit allowed for captain and crew on recreational for hire trips. On overnight charters, there is currently a provision allowing for docking with two days’ legal limits of kings from federal waters (also red snapper), but only on a for-hire trip with two captains on board. This is a safety measure, and the two-day possession limit does not apply to private recreational boats. These king mackerel regulations will probably not change, but neither is the Council likely to raise catch limits. On the red snapper front, expect the shortened season from 2008 to be repeated—if it is not further shortened. NOAA Fisheries has apparently already decided that the quota was exceeded for 2008, in spite of high winds early in the season, hurricanes later on, excessive fuel prices, and a 60

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lack of fishing interest by many. For those charter boat operators who shrugged this off by fishing for snapper in state waters, expect to be told that holders of federal charter permits will be required to obey federal regulations even when fishing in state waters. This comes with Amendment 30B to the Reef Fish Management Plan, which will also create changes to recreational grouper fishing, including a limit on gag grouper of two fish per day and an aggregate grouper limit of four per person per day. The red grouper limit will be increased to two per day, and the closed season for recreational shallow water grouper will be extended to run from February 1 through March 31. Besides requiring states to be compatible with all federal red snapper regulations, NOAA Fisheries is also considering a separation of the for-hire sector from the private recreational within the overall recreational category, requiring electronic logbooks and Vessel Monitoring Systems on all federal reef fish permitted for-hire vessels (including six-pack charter boats), and a possible change in the recreational season. I doubt that change will be an extension. Of course, you can always sell that reef fish permit and fish for snapper strictly in state waters, if you have really good close “numbers” and if you can find a buyer. Fuel prices had been coming down in late November and early December almost as fast as they went up at roadside service stations, but marinas are always slower to respond to market pricing—and marine fuel is normally more expensive. A change in state regulations is going to bring marine diesel under the same low emission requirements as on the road fuel, meaning low sulfur content. Sulfur adds lubricity to diesel, helping to preserve critical fuel system components, like injector pumps. Most engine companies are stating for the record that this change will not affect their marine engines, but many top diesel mechanics take the opposite view, and F i s h

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feel anyone not using a good fuel additive in their marine systems is asking for reduced engine life and poorer performance. Bridge Harbor Marina in Freeport has joined a growing number of fuel outlets carrying Valv-Tect fuel, which comes with that company’s additive package already included, normally for about the price of fuel without the additive package. For those Coast Guard license holders who did not get their TWIC (Transportation Worker Identification Credential) before the September 2008 deadline, it was extended until February of this year. In the meantime, the economic woes Congress was trying to slow overshadowed two bills intended to exempt operators of small passenger vessels carrying less than 150 passengers for hire from having to comply with TWIC. The Small Marine Business and Fishing Guide Relief Act of 2008, S-3377, sponsored by Senators Coleman, Collins, and Lieberman, and in the house, HR-2830, would exempt the “six-pack” operator from the requirement to obtain a TWIC. In the general theme of budget tightening, the Coast Guard wants to eliminate 19 navigational buoys and lights along the Gulf coast, eight of them in Texas. Concerned boaters wishing to get a list of those nav-aids in danger or to provide comments in favor of keeping some or all of them, can contact Christian Medick, the Coast Guard officer in charge of the project, at 504-671-2112. I will not be running offshore trips on my own boat this season, as my beloved 31 Bertram was totaled and hauled away by my insurance company. I will continue to keep up with all changes in fishing regulations and what is going on in Texas on the docks and beyond the breakers—and fish every chance I get.

Capt. Mike Holmes runs tarpon, shark, and bluewater trips on a classic 31 Bertram. To book a trip, call 979-415-0535. Email him at mholmes@fishgame.com.


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depressions are where we caught them,” said Upshaw. David Halliwell and Bradley Sartain of Mississippi State said they were fishing hydrilla in about 5 feet of water with double willow leaf spinnerbaits and chatterbaits. They finished the event with a total weight of 27.08 pounds in third place. Chip Porche of the University of Oklahoma weighed in the big bass of the event, weighing 7 pounds, 12 ounces. Chip said he caught the fish while slow-rolling a spinnerbait around hydrilla early on the second day of the tournament. This makes the Oklahoma angler, along with Alexander Finch of Western Kentucky (who had big bass honors on day one), eligible to win an all expenses paid trip to Lago Vista Lodge at Lake Guerrero, Mexico. Jeff Kriet and Wade Middleton will host the trip. All of the action will be captured on camera and featured on American Outdoors and Fishing Texas television shows. Chris Michels and Tanner Morgan of Tarleton State University took Other great prizes were awardtop honors in the BoatU.S. Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship. ed to top finishers from Cabela’s, Costa Del Mar, Sperry Top Sider Shoes, and American Rodsmiths. Following day one, the team was in eighth place The 2009 BoatU.S. NCBFC is sponsored with 12 pounds, 3 ounces, which they considby BoatU.S., BoatU.S. Angler, Ranger ered a sub-par day. On day two, the team slept Boats, Cabela’s, American Rodsmiths, Take in because neither of their alarms went off. Me Fishing, Abu Garcia, Aviva Fishin’ They woke up after 6 a.m. and had to scramble Buddy, Berkley, Costa Del Mar, EPIC Sports to get to the launch site. By the time they Video Cam, Falcon FTO tackle organizers, arrived, the Tournament Director had released Fenwick, Frogg Toggs, Garmin, G2 XDS the other boats. Series, Sport Marketing, Lago Vista Lodge, Despite a late start and a forgotten depth Gene Larew Lures, MotorGuide, Power-Pole, finder, the team boated enough bass to almost Rapala’s Fishing Frenzy, Sebile, Sperry Topclaim the win again for SFA. Upshaw and Sider, TruckVault, Yamaha, City of Lewisville, Watkins also found most of their fish eating and Sneaky Pete’s Marina. Rat-L-Traps in 2-10 feet of water around The BoatU.S. Collegiate Bass Fishing hydrilla-laden ditches. Championship staff thanks The Bass Federa“There were depressions in the grass where tion and Stephen F. Austin University for all we caught our fish, but as far as a key spot, we the hard work and effort that makes this event didn’t really have one,” said Watkins. “A lot of possible. the places we fished would go from 5 to 6 feet, then back to 5 feet. It wasn’t anything that anyone else would catch onto, but those types of

Tarleton Claims Collegiate Bass Fishing Title T A TIME OF YEAR WHEN MOST ANGLERS would think slow is the way to go, the top performers in the Bucketmouth Bass Tournament hosted by the Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA) Bass Club at Sam Rayburn Reservoir did just the opposite. The top teams discovered last December that reaction baits were key in getting the big Rayburn bucketmouths to bite under changing weather conditions. Thirty-five teams from universities throughout the country competed in the Association of Collegiate Anglers sanctioned event. As the kick-off event leading to the 2009 BoatU.S. Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship, excitement and enthusiasm ran high. “College Bass Fishing continues to capture the nation’s attention, and this event is further evidence to explosive growth nationwide of schools and college anglers willing to travel to compete for school pride and recognition,” said Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship director, Wade Middleton. The team of Chris Michels and Tanner Morgan from Tarleton State University took top honors on Rayburn in grand fashion, leading the event on day one with 18 pounds, 13 ounces—the biggest bag of the event. Michels and Morgan sealed the deal on day two with another limit weighing in at 12 pounds, 14 ounces, giving the team a two-day total of 31 pounds, 11 ounces. The team boated their fish on Sebile Flat Shad lipless crankbaits ripped through hydrilla in 2-8 feet of water, keying on ditches within the grass beds. Interestingly, they fished a key stretch of water shared with the second place team. The SFA team of Andrew Upshaw and Ryan Watkins took second at their school-hosted event, almost rallying enough for the win.

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Communication Skills H, OH,” SAID DOREEN. WE LOOKED toward the front door. Earl and Wynona Grubbs left the windy parking lot and entered Doreen’s 24-HR Eat Gas Now Cafe the way they usually do—arguing. Now, most married couples argue, especially those who have been married for over 50 years like Earl and Wynona. In fact, they have been married so long they are on their third bottle of Tabasco. But it isn’t the arguing—it’s the way they do it. Wynona is hard of hearing. It’s so bad Earl has to virtually yell every time they converse. To make matters worse, Earl has hearing problems of his own, so Wynona has to shout back, even though she shouts more than she needs to, since she can barely hear herself talk. After a while, they become so frustrated with each other, regular conversations turn into arguments. Their conversations are virtual scream-fests. They took the only available booth, beside us and near the jukebox, which was booming at full volume. “What do you want to eat?!” Earl asked. “What?!” “I said, do you want something to eat?!”

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Wynona held out her hand toward Jerry Wayne. “Of course he looks like

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someone I should meet! Hello, young man!” Earl shook his head in disgust. Jerry Wayne, ever the gentleman, shook Wynona’s hand. They had known each other for years, but her memory was not what it used to be, either. “You already know him!” “I do not!”

ILLUSTRATION BY CHRIS ARMSTRONG


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The fight was on. We tried to ignore what was happening, but they were actually drowning out the jukebox. Trixie came over and talked to them for a while to settle things down. She flashed Earl a smile and I worried about his heart. Then she hugged him and I was sure it was all over. When she left, I turned around to face the elderly couple. “Ya’ll have any quail at your place this year?!” I asked. At one time, Earl had more quail per acre than any other farm in the county. “What did he say?!” Earl sighed, answered her, and then turned his attention back at me. “We’re going to visit Wynona’s relatives up in Oklahoma!” “No,” I answered. “I asked if you had any quail.” “What did you say?!” “I haven’t eaten any quail in years!” Earl shouted back so Wynona could hear.

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“Watch your language!” Wynona shouted. “I said quail! I didn’t say hail, and I keep telling you, hail is different than saying hell!” The Hunting Club members pasted on tight smiles and tried to endure the conversation. Woodrow had never met Earl and Wynona. I introduced him, just to stir things up for grins. “Y’all need to meet Woodrow. Woodrow, this is Earl and Wynona Grubbs. They’ve been married over 50 years.” “What did he say?!” “He said this is Woodrow and we’ve been married a hundred years!” “Howdy, Windrow! Nice to meet you! Earl’s lying about how long we’ve been married! You look familiar! You ever get up to Oklahoma?!” Earl rubbed his forehead to ease the tension. “I used to,” Woodrow answered. “But the last time I was there, I somehow made a

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woman mad. She laid her ears back and ripped me a new one. Said all of us Texans need to stay on our side of the river. She chewed on me for 10 minutes. That ugly old woman was meaner than a snake and had an attitude like an old sore-tailed tomcat. Wasn’t much to look at, either, kinda sickly looking with yellow eyes. Had bad teeth. I bet her tongue was forked. I’d hate to run into her again. You know...” “What did he say?!” Wynona interrupted and shouted across the table. Veins popped out on Earl’s forehead. He looked at her for a moment, trying to contain his blood pressure, then answered her. “He says he thinks he knows you!” She got mad. “I heard what he said, and let me tell you something, Mister Earl Grubbs...” We escaped out the door and went fishing. E-mail Reavis Wortham at humor@fishgame.com


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March 2009  

Rig Up for a Mess of Crappie; The Best Striper Lake in Texas; Ninja Turkey Tactics; Deer Eat Quail Eggs?; Speckled Trout from the Shore

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